A Climate Smart Agriculture Model Farm - On-Site learning that empowers Climate smart farmers for Sustainable Production in Rwanda.

A Climate Smart Agriculture Model Farm - On-Site learning that empowers Climate smart farmers for Sustainable Production in Rwanda.

Dec. 29, 2023, 9:41 p.m.

The Rwandan agriculture sector remains a crucial pillar of the economy, employing nearly 70% of the workforce and contributing roughly 30% to the GDP. This highlights its critical role in driving national prosperity and ensuring individual livelihoods. However, the sector's long-term sustainability faces several significant challenges.

Heavy reliance on rain-fed subsistence farming for self-consumption is becoming increasingly unsustainable in the face of climate change (MasterCard Foundation, 2020). The projected increase in floods, droughts, and soil erosion threatens to cripple land productivity. Ironically, while the 2019 National Communication Report identifies agriculture as the primary source of national greenhouse gas emissions (70.4%), it is also the sector most vulnerable to the resulting impacts.

Consequently, addressing climate change through community-level mitigation and adaptation strategies becomes critical. Integrating climate-smart agriculture practices into extension and advisory services, with a focus on reducing emissions from chemical fertilizers and livestock, is key. These efforts should be guided by initiatives that prioritize both climate resilience and improvements in farmers' health and financial well-being.

In this context, AGRIRESEARCH Organization, a youth-led Organization with a vision to make Rwandan agriculture a less climate sensitive, environmentally friendly, and economically leading sector, has established an "Integrated Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Model Farm (Learning Site)". This aims to influence farmers and promote sustainable agricultural practices by showcasing the three pillars of CSA: adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable productivity increase, the model farm serves as a powerful educational tool and catalyst for change. Watch video to see how our climate smart agriculture model farm integrates three pillars of climate smart agriculture.

Addressing climate adaptation strategies in Agriculture

Progressive terraces and Trench making: In this learning site, we have made progressive terraces and trenches as response that generally lead to both lower current and future farm outputs or productivity provided by excessive rain causing erosion.

Seeding fodder trees and grasses: This was done as an adaptation strategy to climate variability. This adaptation strategy improves soil structure, reduces erosion, and provides quality fodder for livestock. Trees like alnus and calliandra, and grasses like setaria and napier grass, indirectly mitigate climate change by reducing methane emissions from animals due to improved feed quality.

Planting Smart crops and locally adaptable seed varieties: poor and maladaptive seeds increase vulnerability to climate change and risks to economic loss. In this learning site, we have planted smart and locally adaptable maize seed variety (RHM1520) as an excellent example of a climate-smart and locally adaptable seed that improves agricultural growth under varying climate conditions. See the performance of locally drought maize resistant seeds in our model farm.

Cover crops and Mulching: These practices were in the installed model farm to offer multiple benefits like erosion control, nitrogen fixation, soil moisture retention, and reduced nutrient leaching. We have used cover crops and mulches for teaching farmers how they can farm while adapting to the chock of climate change like droughts among others while improving soil fertility.

Some of Adaption measures in the installed model farm that farmers come to learn and apply them in their own farm to farm with climate actions


Mulched crop in our model farm, farmers come to learn about conservation agricultural practices


Implementing Climate mitigation strategies:

Planting Agroforestry trees: In our model farm, we have our planted agroforestry trees alongside the farm for sequestration of substantial amounts of carbon preventing emissions and trapping into the atmosphere while contributing indirectly to the increased resilience and green areas.

Manure management using well prepared organic fertilizer” Compost”:  though nutrients are essential to increase yields, synthetic fertilizers contribute to increased gas emissions including CO2, CH4, and N2O as well raising economic costs. Our team has installed the compost making learning site in model farm to teach farmers how they can make compost while reducing the greenhouse gasses emission in the atmosperere. Farmers come to learn the best way of making composts and organic manure techniques.    

Improving pasture productivity and quality: the ratio of greenhouse gases emission is closely related to the quality of livestock forage.

Our team planted alongside trenches, forage trees and grasses including Alnus, calliandra, napier grass and setaria to improve composition of forage, in terms of quantity and quality. This is important to food security, adaptation to climate change as well as reduction both direct and indirect GHG emissions. In addition, supplementing poor quality forages with fodder trees or grasses increases their digestibility thereby improve nutrient cycling, plant productivity by development of healthy root systems, feed both livestock and soil, maintain plant covers and promote natural soil forming processes.

Staking Beans with threads, Most of bean farmers struggled for growing climbing beans because of the way of getting stakes is hard and on the hand they cut trees for staking which is contributing to negative impact to climate change by destroying the carbon sinks and increased carbon emission which is amplifying the problem to atmosphere, in this context, we have come up with techniques of staking beans with treads which is an eco-friendly techniques and reducing of the cutting of trees. Farmers come to our model farm to learn these techniques and apply them in their farms. Watch this video to learn more about staking beans with threads, techniques installed in our climate smart agriculture model farm.

Composting site in the model farm where farm learn the best way of making compost and well management of it while Reducing the Emission of Greenhouses in the atmosphere



Staking Beans with Threads in our model farm


Sustainably increased productivity and income: These climate-smart practices are valuable tools for increasing production by optimizing resource use, reducing waste, and applying inputs efficiently, your farming system saves natural resources, time, and money while producing more with fewer inputs. In scalability plan, we will add our automated sensor powered drip irrigation system in this model farm which also a friendly to climate.



More than 1,000 people have learned a lot from the model farm and adopted the operations of the technology, including farmers from Musanze District, students from the University of Rwanda both College of Agriculture, Animal Science, and Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Science and Technology, who paid a visit to the model farm.

The farmers who paid visits to the model farm and worked with us have increased their production after adopting climate smart agriculture practices and applying them in their farm, their average yield results are as follow: Maize from 1.5T/ha to 4.6T/ha, Potatoes from 10.3T. Ha to 25T/ha, Wheat from 1.5T/ha to 3.6T/ha and beans from 1.5T/ha to 2.75T/ha.

Students from the College of Science and Technology paid visit to our model farm to learn from it.

Production status for the farmers who adopted climate smart agriculture practices


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