Sustainable agricultural and forestry development in the municipality of Rambura

Initial situation

The project works in the sector Rambura in the district Nyhabihu in the north of Rwanda, where a very intensive partnership with the municipality of Holzheim in Rhineland-Palatinate exists. Rambura is home to about 28,000 people who depend on agricultural yields and have cultivated almost every available area, even on extremely steep slopes. Massive erosion phenomena are visible in many places. Hedge strips that protect the soil from erosion and can serve as a food source for animals do not exist. For this reason, the authorities imposed a ban on some sites in 2011 to use land for arable purposes. The population is well aware of the problem, thus the acceptance of agroforestry and soil stabilisation measures in Rambura is likely to be very high. Currently, two tree species are predominant: Eucalyptus spec. and Alnus acuminata. Although other species that are more suitable for integration into agricultural land, such as Polyscias fulva or Grevillea robusta, are encountered in places, these species are largely unknown to the population.


Project description

The project aims to achieve the following three objectives:

(a) Afforestation with agroforestry species and the planting of legume hedges with multiple uses parallel to the contour lines in order to reduce soil erosion, ensure sustainable firewood production and accumulate CO2 in the biomass. The afforestation measures presuppose a sensitisation and training of the population, which is to be carried out by experienced agricultural consultants both in Rambura and on the demonstration areas in Ruhande/Butare maintained within the scope of the project. The seedling production is carried out in the project's own nurseries in Rambura and Butare.

 

b) The planting of bamboo in brook meadows, which can be harvested after five to seven years and can be used for many purposes - for example for the production of wickerwork furniture or as a building material in house construction.

 

c) The cultivation and distribution of fruit trees, e.g. avocado (Persea americana) and tree tomato (Solanum betaceaum), which are hardly available locally and in the surrounding area and represent an additional source of income. Planted in partner schools, the fruit trees are supposed to contribute to a vitamin- and fat-rich nutrition for schoolchildren.


First results were achieved in April 2015, as shown in the following chart:

 

 Plantations in the municipality of Rambura in spring 2015