IFAD: Investing in rural people in Rwanda

Since 1981, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has financed 16 rural development programmes and projects in Rwanda, for a total amount of US$284.6 million, directly benefiting about 634,300 rural households. The IFAD country programme has contributed significantly to improving incomes and food security in rural areas, particularly through watershed development, increased production in irrigated marshland and hillsides, development of livestock and export crops and support for cooperatives and rural enterprise promotion.

IFAD country programme has piloted a number of innovations, including a rice intensification system (SRI), crop-livestock integration and intensification, support for water users’ associations and development of farmer-managed veterinary pharmacies, which have now been mainstreamed into government programmes. In addition, new technologies such as the flexi-biogas (a low-cost biogas digester) are providing affordable energy to remote rural areas.

An apprenticeship programme is helping rural youth gain new skills. IFAD also supports the government in mainstreaming climate resilience in all stages of agricultural value chains. This includes the development of drought and flood tolerant seeds, low-cost and energy-saving technologies (e.g. solar- and biogas-powered machineries), “climate proof” building, elaboration and communication of climate information services, renewable energy and climate-smart practices.

IFAD’s strategy in Rwanda, as documented in its results-based country strategic opportunities programme (RB-COSOP) for 2013-2018, is well aligned with EDPRS 2 and PSTA III. The COSOP’s overall objective is to reduce poverty by empowering poor rural men and women to actively participate in the transformation of the agriculture sector and rural development, and by reducing their vulnerability to climate change. The three interrelated strategic objectives of IFAD’s country programme in Rwanda are:

  • To sustainably increase agricultural productivity;
  • To develop climate-resilient export value chains, post-harvesting processes and agribusiness;
  • To improve the nutritional status of poor rural people and vulnerable groups included in the process of economic transformation.

Ongoing operations

Rwanda Dairy Development Project (2017-2022)

RDDP is meant to contribute to pro-poor economic growth and improve the livelihoods of resource-poor rural households. RDDP seeks to increase the dairy sector’s competitiveness and profitability through provision of quality products from small-scale producers to domestic and regional consumers, thus increasing their livelihoods, food security and nutrition while building overall resilience. To achieve its objectives, RDDP includes three components:

  • Climate-smart dairy production intensification
  • Support for producer organizations and value chains, focusing on capitalizing on productivity gains
  • Institutional and policy development.

The total project cost is US$65.1 million, including an IFAD loan of US$43.6 million and a grant of US$1.1 million. The project is expected to reach approximately 100,000 resource-poor rural households.

Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (2014-2019)

The PASP aims at reducing post-harvest losses in key value chain commodities (maize, beans, cassava, Irish potatoes and dairy) and thus increasing the incomes of smallholders and rural labourers, especially women and young people. The total project cost is US$83.4 million, and it is expected to benefit to about 32,400 rural households. IFAD is financing approximately US$27 million, half in loan and half in grant form. The project is strengthened through an investment of US$7.0 million from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), launched by IFAD to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers so that they can increase their resilience. The project components are:

  • Capacity development and business coaching for cooperatives, farmers’ organizations, small businesses and microenterprises
  • Support for agribusiness investment in climate-resilient drying and processing technologies and infrastructures, value addition, storage, distribution and other post-harvest processes.

Project for Rural Income through Exports

PRICE aims to increase benefits to farmers from key export-driven and sustainable agricultural value chains through both greater production volume and quality, improved marketing and effective farmer organizations. The total cost of the programme is US$56.1 million. IFAD is providing US$37.4 million, half as loan and half as grant. This project benefits approximately 128,700 households, especially woman-headed households and households with little land, and which are involved in coffee or tea production, sericulture and horticulture. The project promotes:

  • Sustainable increased returns to farmers from key export-driven agricultural value chains
  • Strengthened producer cooperatives as full-fledged economic partners of the private sector.

PRICE is supporting the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) in demonstrating what can be achieved with new business models that benefit smallholder farmers in selected value chains.