Launch of a two-year phase of agro-forestry project in Nyabihu and Bugesera districts

|   RAB News

The project, funded by the Australian government at a tune of Rwf70m, is implemented with World Agro-forestry Center (ICRAF) and the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB). It started in 2012 in the two districts.

The Australian High Commissioner to the East African Community countries and Somalia, John Feakes, announced the extension of the project, on Wednesday, after touring project activities in Bugesera.

Feakes, who had earlier on Tuesday made a field visit in Nyabihu, commended the efforts put in by partners and citizens in making the project successful.

“I’m glad to hear people giving good testimonies about this project and I hope it will bring more positive changes in the community,” he told Rweru residents, Bugesera District.

He said the decision was reached after an assessment tour early this year showed commendable impact of the project on the population.

‘Trees for food project’, that help rural research centres in Rwanda to research on agro-forestry seedlings and train farmers was extended for two more years, following the conclusion of the first phase of the project.

Prof. Catherine Muthuri, the Trees for Food Security project manager at World Agro-forestry Center (ICRAF), observed that despite drought, farmers have put a lot of efforts in planting trees.

She said that they visited long-term demonstration farms, where different species of trees are doing very well, including one new species from Ethiopia.

“From the long-term trial we are getting to have better understanding of the species that farmers could try out in the field, so we are giving farmers more options. For instance, from the time when we started that experiment we can see that people are planting different species of trees,” Muthuri said.

“In terms of research, the first phase laid the ground work for the second phase. For example, we have started long term experiment, you saw that the trees are like five meters height, we need to improve so that in the next four years we will have bigger trees in farmers’ fields.

She pointed to water as a big challenge to the people in Bugesera, but added that plans are underway to empower farmers in conservation mechanisms.

Gislain Tenge Ngoga, a researcher in natural resources management working with Karama research and extension centre in Bugesera, said they have developed different species of trees.