Gasabo, Nyanza and Nyamasheke Districts, Rwanda, Rwanda
Rwanda Trading Company Rwanda
Aiming to establish freedom and security for smallholder coffee farmers in the region, this project focuses on building resilient and transparent supply chains by increasing productivity through agroforestry.
Our local partner for this project, Rwanda Trading Company (or RTC) has been engaged with farmers in their supply chain to provide trainings on coffee farming since 2013. For this agroforestry project, which was established in 2022, 12,000 farmers with the smallest land sizes (approx. 0.12ha) were part of in-person workshops with an agroforestry expert and RTC field officers.
RTC designed this project through a participatory approach with farmers as they listened to their needs during these field schools (engagement and training workshops). The majority of coffee farmers have coffee trees that were planted in the 80s, and their productivity is very low. As a result, the proposed agroforestry design included planting more disease-resistant coffee crops and agroforestry tree species to provide shade, increase yield, and improve farmers’ coffee income.
Farmers in the project area would not be able to begin this transition without the help of RTC and without the incentive of receiving carbon finance after all the hard work needed in the initial phases. These farmers currently face a financial barrier due to the poor economy in Rwanda, where earnings are extremely low — under 1 USD a day.
Unable to afford investments in their farms such as the costs of transitioning to agroforestry (seeds, biological pest control, inorganic fertilizers), farmers also struggle with technical and cultural barriers due to inability to afford costly education and training in agroforestry practices (both for preparation and planting and for long-term maintenance).
Our local partner RTC is providing practical and theoretical training (on the benefits of agroforestry and practical farming skills involved), while the current English-based trainings are converted to the participants’ native languages.
In addition, RTC will supply farmers with fertilizers and seeds, and (with their share of the carbon income) establish their own nurseries of both coffee and agroforestry trees to ensure there is adequate supply of disease-resistant varieties of seedlings that can be distributed for free to all farmers. Full project documentation available upon request.