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Extension and Advisory Services in Rwanda

1. Major Institutions providing extension/advisory services in the country 

Prior to 1994, the extension system in Rwanda was dominated by the government through the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) using a top-down approach that included the Training and Visit (T&V) extension model introduced by the World Bank. After the 1994 genocide, both national and international NGOs began organizing farmers in groups and associations and providing them with extension advices and services. Most of these NGOs worked in isolation with little or no coordination or sharing of information among them. In order to revamp extension and provide adequate linkages between research, extensions and the various actors in the sector, MINAGRI undertook a restructuring that lead to the creation of Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) and the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB). The recent decision by the Government of Rwanda to decentralize agricultural extension activities to the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) aims at addressing efficiently specific needs of farm households within each district. This move along with a redeployment of staff especially Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs) should strengthen extension and enhance its role by positioning staff closer to the population they are intended to serve. The current public Agricultural Extension including MINAGRI at National/Zonal level and MINALOC at the District, Sector and cell level operate through offices in 30 Districts, 416 Sectors, 1,500 Cells and 14,876 Village. The widely accepted notion that extension should be provided through a pluralistic system that include the public sector, international and local NGOs, as well as the private sector fit well with the Government new extension strategy. The public and private sector as well as local and international NGOs in Rwanda are actively involved in providing extension advisory services to Rwanda farmers across all14,876 villages. 

At the national level, Rwanda public extension comprises 1244 staff members and is managed by a team of 92 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011). Only one staff member has a Master of Science degree and the rest of the team studied at the bachelor level. Women account for 36% of senior management staff. There are 175 subject matter specialists to provide backsopping support to the field staff, none of them has a graduate degree and 23% of which are female. Field level extension workers constitute the bulk of staff (78%), with 87 % of them holding a 2 to 3 year agricultural diploma or less, and less than 30% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff. Although the public sector does not employ in-service training staff, 3 workers are involved in ICT support services (Table 1). 

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Rwanda (Government and Ministry of Agriculture -based Extension Organizations)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

 

 

 

 

23

68

1

 

 

 

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

 

 

9

23

31

112

 

 

 

 

Field Level Extension Staff

 

12

250

582

30

95

1

4

 

 

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

In-Service Training Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Extension Staff: 1244                   

 

12

259

605

87

275

2

4

0

0

    Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011


Public Sector 

The public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the Ministry of Local Government, the National University of Rwanda, other universities and research institutions, and Agricultural and Veterinary Schools around the country. These institutions provide extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below: 

    Public Extension Institutions
 
        Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) www.minagri.gov.rw 
        Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) www.rada.gov.rw 
        Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority (RARDA) www.rarda.gov.rw 
        Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA) www.rhoda.gov.rw 
        Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) www.isar.gov.rw 
        Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) www.minaloc.gov.rw 
        Department of Regional Development, Research and Extension (DRDRE) 

    Public Research and Education Institutions 

        Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE) 
        Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development 
        Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Environmental Sciences 
        Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Education of Kibuko (INATEK) 
        Faculty of Education 
        Faculty of Rural Development 
        National University of Rwanda (NUR) 
        Faculty of Agriculture 
        Umutara Polytechnic 
        Faculty of Agriculture 
        Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 
        Faculty of Agriculture 
        Faculty of Technology and ICT 
        Faculty of Business Studies 
        AYEVE Kabatare Agricultural and Veterinary School 

Private Sector Firms 

Rwanda’s Private Sector is particularly vulnerable because of the country’s history and its mostly rural nature. The private sector generally focuses on cash crops and income, and addresses farmer households with strong market links. Below is a short list of some private sector firms that conduct business with farmers: 
        Enterprise Urwibutso 
        Sosoma Industries 
        MTN Rwanda 

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors 

There are two basic types of INGOs active in agriculture in Rwanda. These are the multi-sector, mega-INGOs such as CARE, AFRICARE, World Vision International (WVI) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the more Agriculture-Focused INGOs such as Land O’Lakes, TechnoServe and Heifer Project International. Amongst the Mega INGOs, agriculture tends to not be a priority sector and is often included in an integrated livelihood or food security program that also includes health, water & sanitation, microfinance and education. 

    International Organizations and Donors 
        Belgian Development Agency (BTC Rwanda) 
        CIALCA Biodiversity, IITA, CIAT-TSBF 
        Dairy Development Project (DDP), Land O’Lakes 
        United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 
        Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) 
        CATALIST, IFDC 
        ECABREN (Bean Research Network), CIAT 
        PRAPACE (Potato Research Network), CIP 
        UNICEF 
        United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 
    Non-Governmental Organizations 
        Africare 
        CARE 
        DUHAMIC_ADRI 
        HarvestPlus 
        CRS 
        RWARRI (Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative) 
        UGAM/Centre de Service aux Cooperatives 
        World Vision 
        
Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives 

Farmers have the tradition of organizing themselves at local level into membership-based entities (associations, cooperatives). They mainly organize around common interest like agricultural production to pool their resources together and facilitate access to credit and farm inputs. Whether formal or informal, these farmers’ organizations have always played a role in the relationships between the state and rural society, though over time their roles have changed considerably. Many of the farmers’ association in Rwanda today were created mainly to benefit from assistance of NGOs. Nevertheless, private or state-own enterprises trading commodities such as tea and pyrethrum have gained extensive experience with organizing producers into associations to manage supply operations within the commodity chain. Below is a list of some commodity-based or community-based Organizations in Rwanda 

    KAIGA cooperative (Irish Potatoes growers) 
    COAMVU cooperative (Maize growers) 
    MURUGO Cooperative (Livestock) 
    Nyiramageni cooperative (Rice production) 
    Impuhwe Z’Imana Women cooperative 
    Koakaka Cooperative (Café, Karaba) 
    Abatangan Farmers Group – Gitarama 
    Young Women Christian Association 

2. Enabling (or Disabling) Environment. 

The restructuring of MINAGRI leading to the creation of Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) and the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB), and the decentralization of agricultural extension activities to the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) pose serious challenges to the effective implementation and coordination of agricultural extension programs in Rwanda. The missing links and weak connections between research, extension and farmers could further add to the many obstacles MINALOC need to overcome. Fortunately, the country has nearly all the needed elements to increase agricultural productivity and reduce rural poverty if the various elements are brought into proper alignment with each other. A dynamic private sector as well as NGOs is already actively involved alongside the public sector in technology transfer, supply of input and funding of many projects. The changing extension landscape is characterized by the introduction and testing of a variety of different extension models. The ICT department presents itself as a well prepared partner to boast the work of MINALOC by providing the necessary tools to facilitate the flow of information and services from research institutions to extension workers, and to farmers. Strengthening Research – Extension Linkages, as well as linking RAB with MINALOC extension workers, especially at the sector level is what the Government of Rwanda needs to do to effectively serve its farmers. 

3. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension 

In Rwanda, different socio-economic groups within the society will have access to different types of ICT devices and services. For this reason, a multi-layered-approach to the pluralistic extension system is to be taken such that no farmer/producer is left behind. In response to this, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has put in place a foundation framework for a robust ICT infrastructure to build upon to strengthen the delivery of Extension services.  Several ICT tools commonly used in other African countries and different parts of the world are found in Rwanda today. For instance, sms-capable cell phones have become the “everyman computer” for the average citizen in Rwanda. With mobile phone branching out beyond its origins as primarily voice-only device to be use for other services such as banking (paying bills, sending money, paying school fees), the technology could play a key role in extension services and information delivery. Other recent innovations include a MINAGRI sponsored service e-Soko that provide current market price information to farmers and others in the food chain in all common crops in over 50 markets in the country. The Agricultural Information and Communication Centre (CICA) that is responsible for collecting, producing, processing, adapting, storing, sharing and disseminating agricultural information relies on ICT tools such as AMIS (The Information Gateway of the Agricultural and Livestock Sector of Rwanda), the MINAGRI Website, esoko and the Library web. Adoption of these technologies and many others (ForgetMeNotAfrica, MarketMaker from University of Illinois) underscores the potential for ICT development to open up frame-changing advances in agricultural extension education. 

4. Training for Extension Professionals 

There is apparently no proper training for extension staff at the many institutions in charge of agricultural development in Rwanda. Current personnel taking on extension services are trained to work as general agricultural practitioners also known as agronomists. Since universities only offer training in specialized agricultural fields like: crop production; horticulture; agro-forestry; animal production; veterinary medicine; soil science; soil and water management; irrigation and drainage management; agricultural mechanization; agricultural economics; agribusiness, there is a need for a new class of agricultural workers with proper training in agricultural extension methods and skills. 

With regard to In-service training, MINALOC lacks the resources to provide such training. The new chain of command resulting from the redeployment of agricultural staff under MINALOC from MINAGRI makes it difficult for the latter institution to provide expertise and resources to accomplish this need. The MEAS report noted that there is no systematic training for district and sector agronomists to enable them provide advisory services across the board. These gaps need to be address under the pluralistic extension system approach been implemented. 

5. Statistical Indicators 

                                                                                

Rwanda                                                                                                             Year     

Agricultural land (sq km)

20,200

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

81.9

2008

Arable land (hectares)

1,290,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

52.29

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.13

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

8

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

34.2

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

134

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

42.3

2009

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

12.4

2009

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

490

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

70.7

2009

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

77.4

2009

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

101

2009

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

95

2009

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

6.7

2007


13.6

2008


24.3

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

2.1

2007


3.1

2008


4.5

2009

Population, total

9,997,614

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

405.3

200

Rural population

8,136,058

2009

Rural population (% of total population)

81.4

2009


 

 

Agricultural population* 

8,726,000

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

90

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

4,450,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

90

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

57

2008

                                                Source: The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org, *Food and Agriculture Organization, http://faostat.fao.org


References 

Swanson, B., J. Mutimba, P. Adedze, and O. Hixson. 2011. Comprehensive Assessment of Extension Services in Rwanda. Report on the MEA Rapid Scoping Mission. Final Draft Submitted to USAID/Liberia, September 11, 2011. www.meas-extension.or




References Pertaining to Agricultural and Rural Extension and Advisory Services in Rwanda

CTA/GTZ.2009. Awareness Creation and training In the CFSME extension system in Kibuye, Rwanda. In Handbook: Rural Extension Volume 2: Examples and Background Material. 3rd Edition. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Farmers’ Organizations and Agricultural Innovation. 2006. In Bertus Wennink and Willem Heemskerk (Ed.). Case studies from Benin, Rwanda and Tanzania. Bulletin 37. Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) – Amsterdam KIT Development, Policy and Practice. Amsterdam The Netherlands, KIT Publishers. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://www.kit.nl/net/KIT_Publicaties_output/ShowFile2.aspx?e=908

Hakizimana, P. 2007. Rwanda agricultural extension services system: Operation and funding modalities. Paper presented at UN-ECA EA-SRO, 11th Session of Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) Meeting, Bujumbura, Burundi, from 16 to 19 April 2007. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://www.rada.gov.rw/IMG/pdf/UN-ECA_extension_paper.pdf

Republic Of Rwanda, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. 2009. Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture in Rwanda – Phase II  (PSTA II). Final Report, February 2009. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://www.gafspfund.org/gafsp/sites/gafspfund.org/files/Documents/Rwanda_StrategicPlan.pdf

Swanson, B. J. Mutimba, T. Remington, and P. Adedze. 2011A Comprehensive Assessment of Extension Services in Rwanda. In Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) Project. Report prepared for USAID, September 2011. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://www.meas-extension.org/meas-offers/country_studies/country-overview/rwanda

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