Farmers reaping big benefits from climate information services in Rwanda
With a per capita consumption of more than 150g per person per day, beans are the most consumed and important source of protein and essential micro-nutrients in Rwanda. Its Eastern Province is particularly prone to climate risks for bean production because of long dry spells, increasing temperatures, and erratic rainfall that lead to frequent crop failure and food shortages. The Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT, in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, has been providing training so that farmers can access and use climate information services to better manage their farms. In addition to climate information, trainees also receive new climate-smart, high-iron bean varieties to plant.
One of the past trainees was 39-year-old, Shakira Umutoni from the Eastern Province, where she lives with her husband and three children. Shakira, together with the other farmers at the five-day training, learned about historic rainfall trends, weather forecasting, and how to make decisions based on weather forecasts and agricultural advisories. They also learned new practices to conserve and efficiently use rainwater on their farms.
Shakira noted, “Before the training, I used to broadcast bean seed in the field, but afterward, I decided to plant the new climate-smart, higher iron bean variety in rows, observe the recommended spacing, and retain moisture in my fields by tied-ridging and mulching.” The results were heartwarming. “The first year, I harvested 200 kilos of beans, which is almost 10 times my previous harvest of 25 kilos!”