Rab launches new research on agricultural productivity

A research programme aimed at finding ways of improving agricultural productivity and livelihoods without imposing threats to sustainable environment in the country has been launched.

A research programme aimed at finding ways of improving agricultural productivity and livelihoods without imposing threats to sustainable environment in the country has been launched.

The research, dubbed “Humidtropics”, was launched in Kigali last week.

“The programme will help us learn from other countries  the  best agricultural practices to increase productivity and share modern technologies on using fertilisers, seed multiplication and  erosion control,’’ Prof. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba, the director-general of Rwanda Agriculture Board, said. 

Prof. Mbonigaba said research will be conducted on some infertile soils in the country to find out how to increase yields and better fertiliser application. 

It is hoped that the project will address livelihood challenges of farmers using participatory and collaborative approaches with full involvement of stakeholders as partners in research for development.

Humidtropics is an initiative of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), while the project’s implementation and management is led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The project is aimed at helping poor families in tropical Africa, Asia and Americas to boost income and livelihoods through agriculture.

“This programme will take farmers as the primary focus. We look at livelihoods systems around the farmer, and how livelihoods can support systems the farmer depends on,’’ said Chris Okafor, East and Central Africa coordinator of IITA-led CGIAR Humidtropics programme.

Okafor said the programme, which has a long-term duration, will focus on developing interventions, test them, and spread them if proved to work.

The Humid Tropics region covers almost three billion hectares of land and is home to about 2.9 billion people, mostly poor smallholder farmers, IITA said.

Over the next 15 years, within selected action areas, Humidtropics targets to increase staple food yields by 60 per cent, increase average farm income by 50 per cent and lift 25 per cent of poor households above the poverty line, among other targets.

Prof. Mbonigaba said the programme does not focus on addressing new issues but will strengthen and support the existing solutions to agricultural problems and spread more technologies to more farmers.

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