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Rushemuka P.N.,Rwanda Agricultural Board RAB | Rushemuka P.N.,University of Liege | Bock L.,University of Liege | Mowo J.G.,World Agroforestry Center
Biotechnology, Agronomy and Society and Environment | Year: 2014

Poor agricultural productivity remains a crucial problem in Rwanda in spite of numerous technological interventions, including aspects of soil management. The objective of this study was to draw lessons from the past with the view to better orient future interventions in soil fertility management. The literature review and iterative field observations were the sources of information. Findings from this study show that substantial progress has been made in the identification of different soil types and their spatial distribution. Factors related to low level of productivity have been identified and sustainable soil fertility management options have been developed at plot level. However, the widespread adoption of these technologies has been problematic. The main reason is the failure to tailor soil fertility management technologies to specific soil types. The study has demonstrated that the soil map of Rwanda (CPR for Carte Pédologique du Rwanda) - 1:50,000 - offers a remarkable potential to constitute a tool to solve this problem. In practice however, the CPR remains underutilized, mainly because of its inaccessibility to its potential users (e.g. policy makers, soil fertility experts, agronomists and extensionists). For its effective use, the following is recommended: Rwandan soil scientists need to increase policy makers' awareness about the usefulness of this soil map; agricultural research needs to adapt from the conventional model to a truly participatory and integrated approach; the CPR legend should be elucidated by providing information on the land units in which soils occur and by bridging Soil Taxonomy with the farmers' soil nomenclature; regional soil reference systems should be established that allow linking soil types with the fertility status of arable land and crop yields. This implies the need for training of Rwandan soil scientists in both Soil Taxonomy (the language of the CPR) and the farmers' soil nomenclature so that they can serve as interpreter for scientists from other disciplines and farmers. Rwandan soil scientists should be trained in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software to enable them to exploit the digitized version/soft copy of the CPR and to become familiar with the Rwandan biophysical environment. Source

Manzi M.,Rwanda Agricultural Board RAB | Owino Junga J.,University of Nairobi | Ebong C.,Rwanda Agricultural Board RAB | Mosi R.O.,Bondo University of Agriculture
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2012

The objective of this study was to assess the growth performance of six cattle breed groups from birth to 18 month of age at Songa Research Station in Rwanda. Records of animals born between 1998 and 2008 were evaluated using nested ANOVA for effects of non-genetic factors on growth performance of different cattle breed groups; compare growth rate of different cattle breed group; and identify suitable breed group for Songa environment. The animals used in the study were taken from a herd of crossbreds of Ankole dams with Brown Swiss, Friesian, Jersey and Sahiwal sires. Birth weight was not affected by breed group, sex of the calf or environmental factors, such as year and season of birth. However the calves sired by Brown Swiss and Friesians were heavier than calves sired by Jerseys. At weaning, the effects of breed group, year of birth and season of birth were all highly significant (P<0.001), as was the effect of nesting season in breed groups. Weaned calves of Ankole-Friesian crosses (AF) were significantly heavier than those of all other breed groups except Ankole × Brown Swiss (AB) and Ankole × Sahiwal (AS) crossbreds. The heaviest calves were born during season 4 of the year, though weaning weights across seasons did not differ significantly (P>0.05). Male weaned calves (179.3±6.0 kg) were heavier than female weaners (164.6±9.9 kg). A wide range of weaning weight for AB and AF breed groups were observed, compared with the range of mean weights for AJ, AJS, AS, and ASJ suggesting that breed groups containing Jersey and Sahiwal blood are more resilient to environment pressure. Mature weights of animals was significantly affected by breed group (P<0.01), sex (P<0.001), and year of birth (P<0.001) while season and its interaction with breed group (P>0.05) did not influence it. Generally, breed group AB grew faster than all other breed groups while the lowest growth rate was registered in breed group AS. However, the speed of growth was similar to those in breed groups AJ, AJS, AS and AJS. We observe that AS, AJS and ASJ breed group was the best breed group for the area of study and that the major factors to consider during the breeding of the various breed groups include sex, season of birth and year of birth. It is therefore recommended that to attain the best level of performance for these cattle, artificial insemination should be synchronized with maximum forage availability at parturition. Source

Schut M.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Schut M.,Wageningen University | van Asten P.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Okafor C.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | And 10 more authors.
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2016

This study identifies entry points for innovation for sustainable intensification of agricultural systems. An agricultural innovation systems approach is used to provide a holistic image of (relations between) constraints faced by different stakeholder groups, the dimensions and causes of these constraints, and intervention levels, timeframes and types of innovations needed. Our data shows that constraints for sustainable intensification of agricultural systems are mainly of economic and institutional nature. Constraints are caused by the absence, or poor functioning of institutions such as policies and markets, limited capabilities and financial resources, and ineffective interaction and collaboration between stakeholders. Addressing these constraints would mainly require short- and middle-term productivity and institutional innovations, combined with middle- to long-term NRM innovations across farm and national levels. Institutional innovation (e.g. better access to credit, services, inputs and markets) is required to address 69% of the constraints for sustainable intensification in the Central Africa Highlands. This needs to go hand in hand with productivity innovation (e.g. improved knowhow of agricultural production techniques, and effective use of inputs) and NRM innovation (e.g. targeted nutrient applications, climate smart agriculture). Constraint network analysis shows that institutional innovation to address government constraints at national level related to poor interaction and collaboration will have a positive impact on constraints faced by other stakeholder groups. We conclude that much of the R4D investments and innovation in the Central Africa Highlands remain targeting household productivity at farm level. Reasons for that include (1) a narrow focus on sustainable intensification, (2) institutional mandates and pre-analytical choices based project objectives and disciplinary bias, (3) short project cycles that impede work on middle- and long-term NRM and institutional innovation, (4) the likelihood that institutional experimentation can become political, and (5) complexity in terms of expanded systems boundaries and measuring impact. © 2016 The Authors. Source

Ndayambaje J.D.,Rwanda Agricultural Board RAB | Ndayambaje J.D.,Wageningen University | Heijman W.J.M.,Wageningen University | Mohren G.M.J.,Wageningen University
Agroforestry Systems | Year: 2013

The development of farm woodlots as an alternative source of livelihood for smallholder farmers in diverse biophysical and socio-economic conditions is a challenging issue in developing countries, such as Rwanda, where the majority of the population relies on subsistence farming. There is a need to understand why and when farmers decide to grow trees and woodlots on their farms. The objective of this study was to analyse the determinants and the purposes that enhance the propensity to grow woodlots in low, medium and high altitude regions of Rwanda. Necessary information for this study came from a survey of 480 households across these regions. The results showed regional variations in the determinants of woodlot farming, demonstrating the importance of not extrapolating the results between regions. Pooled data across regions indicated that age of the householder, number of salaried household members, farm size, travel distance to fuelwood sources and household location in medium forest cover region had positive significant effects on the propensity to grow farm woodlots. In contrast, household location in low forest cover region, ownership of livestock and monthly frequency of purchasing fuelwood were inversely related to the presence of farm woodlots. Many households planted eucalyptus woodlots for economic reasons, not for environmental purposes. Livestock and crop production were more attractive to rural households than woodlot farming. The findings of the study can be used by policymakers and extension services in order to promote sustainable land use practices by focusing on the challenges of competing land uses, farm size, unemployment, dependence on forests for fuelwood supply and subsistence farming. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Ndayambaje J.D.,Rwanda Agricultural Board RAB | Ndayambaje J.D.,Wageningen University | Mugiraneza T.,National University of Rwanda | Mohren G.M.J.,Wageningen University
Agroforestry Systems | Year: 2014

Scattered trees and woodlots are a prominent feature of agricultural landscapes of Rwanda. However, little is known about their characteristics and their contribution to farmers' wood needs. Here, we present the results of a survey of (a) the abundance, composition, and size of trees and woodlots in the low, medium and high altitude regions of Rwanda, (b) total woody biomass and biomass for fuelwood at farm and landscape levels, and (c) opportunities for their sustainable use. Scattered trees occurred in all landscapes at minimum densities ranging from 20 to 167 trees ha-1. Of the 56 tree genera recorded, a handful of tree species dominated, with the ten most common species accounting for over 70 % of all trees recorded. Most of them provided fuelwood, fruit and timber to farm owners. Woodlots occurred on about 40 % of the survey farms and consisted for 90 % of eucalyptus coppice. Woody biomass dry weight of scattered trees on agricultural landscape was 0.7 t ha-1 in low altitude region (LAR), 3 t ha-1 in medium altitude region (MAR), and 1 t ha-1 in high altitude region (HAR). Dry weight woody biomass in woodlots (<0.5 ha) was the highest in MAR (221 t ha-1), followed by that in HAR (205 t ha-1) and least in LAR (96 t ha-1). About 80 % of total woody biomass in trees and woodlots on farmland was useable biomass for fuelwood, indicating that the production of fuelwood on agricultural land was important. Woody biomass on agricultural land was higher than that in forest plantations, and was potentially sufficient to reduce the gap between fuelwood supply and demand when the entire agricultural area was taken into account. In order to achieve this on agricultural land, while contributing to food security and environmental conservation as well, smallholder farmers must be provided with incentives to grow woodlots and to adopt agroforestry systems, thereby considering the trade-offs with agricultural production. Strategies to encourage smallholder farmers to increase the use of agroforestry have to account for the farmers' ecological and socioeconomic conditions. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

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