Research and Innovation is the foundation of agriculture transformation
and food security. Our target is to do research that aims at increasing agriculture
production and building its resilience to climate change sustainably through developing
and disseminating locally adapted technologies based on sector demand. Since our research
is linked with extension services, makes it easier to do demand-driven research and in
technology transfer as well.
This approach has efficiently and effectively led to strong connection between our researchers and famers which at the end of the day results in coming up and executing research projects that meet with farmers’ needs. So far, different researches were conducted with a priority on potato crop.
OUR RESEARCH PROJECTS
Evaluation of effectiveness of potato planting structures and alternating preventive fungicides to control late blight on potato crop in Rwanda.
This study will introduce a potato planting structure, a local
and a method of alternating chemicals to control late blight, the ultimate result will be
method of controlling late blight on potato in Rwanda. The local chemical will reduce the costs of
the chemical usage and increase the range of choices among the fungicide used. Also, the study
raise awareness on safe and proper use of chemicals and lead to a reduction of pesticide residues
The overall end results will be increased potato productivity at farm and the whole potato value chain by extension. This will culminate in improved livelihood of potato farmers and Rwandese in general.
Timing of the NPK. 17.17.17 for Irish potatoes based on the nutrients uptake pattern and phenology
This will address household-level food insecurity problem and make crop production system more environment-friendly.
Grafting Tamarillo onto Soda apple
Evaluation of compatibility and yield of Grafting Tamarillo onto Soda apple. The research aims at producing tree tomato seedlings that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses like draught, pest and diseases, increasing resilience of potato farming to climate change, increasing tree tomato yield sustainably and leveraging grafting technique in fruit and vegetable production.
Tomato grafting on Irish potato (Pomato)
Assessment of Compatibility, growth and yield of Tomato grafted on potato (Pomato). This research aims at ensuring land use efficiency by double harvest (Potato and tomatoes) from single plant through grafting technique.
Reducing vegetables post-harvest loss through value addition
We did different research on reducing post harvest loss through value addition. By processing, we produced spices, flours, and juices in vegetables which besides adding value to them, it also helped in reducing post harvest loss which is at high rate (30-50%) than other agriculture produces. We trained about 50 Horticulture students from University of Rwanda, College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine about post harvest loss reduction through value addition and promoting post harvest handling of carrots, beetroot, garlic, onion cabbage and tomatoes through processing.
Promoting vertical farming through Plasticulture
This research was intended to protect environment from plastic pollution while producing food. The research specifically contribute to urban farming development where land scarcity is mostly claimed to be. Plastics like water bottles, used buckets and tires are reused for vegetable production by reducing plastic pollution to the environment, promoting urban farming through vertical farming and ensure vegetable production at household level. As of now, more than 30000 people including students have learnt about vertical farming.
With a growing population, shrinking land base, and emerging threats of
climate change, agricultural transformation has become a high priority to enhance
productivity and conserve natural resources.
For Example, By the year 2050, the world population will be approximately 9 billion people. This requires an increase in agricultural production of 60% (FAO, 2019) but people need to change the way they are producing according to climate variability and extreme weather events which are compromising to food security and nutrition, people will have to migrate, and the likelihood of armed conflict will increase. Along with research and education, extension and outreach remain key pillars for agricultural development and food systems.
Within this case, AGRIRESEARCH Organization implemented several extension models and activities to serve the community in Rwanda. These models include but not limited to transferring information, knowledge, and technologies from research systems to farmers; advising farm families in their decision-making; educating farmers on farming with climate action by mainstreaming climate smart agriculture practices; and empowering farmers to be able to clarify and realize their goals.
Climate smart agriculture model farm installation
With the negative impact of climate change to agricultural production, we have
installed and developed a climate smart agriculture model farm as community-centered
approach to promote climate smart agriculture practices to farmers. This model farm is
in Busogo Sector Musanze district and covered practices involved in all
three pillars of climate smart agriculture such as sustainable increase of agricultural
productivity and improvement of incomes and livelihoods of farmers; building resilience and
adaptation to climate change; and reducing green house gases emissions where possible.
More than 3000 farmers learnt best practices of Climate Smart Agriculture and how they can apply them to their farms.
Kitchen gardens and Nursery installation
Due to the problem of malnutrition, we have installed nursery of vegetables
and fruit trees and smart kitchen gardens where farmers learnt how they could
have their own nurseries at farm level at lower cost. We also gave and distributed
vegetable seedlings with technical support of growing them to 23 families in Musanze
district to reduce malnutrition. Our nursery has more than 2000 agroforestry seedlings
which are used for preventing soil erosion, facilitates water infiltration and diminishes
the impacts of extreme weather events.
Agroforestry species use less fertilizer; reducing the direct emissions of nitrogen oxide and indirect green house gases emissions.
Awareness campaign on cropping season preparation
According to the National Institute of Statistics 2020 report, the use of
agricultural inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were not at enough
to increase food productivity. As shuch, we carried out an awareness campaign on 21A
cropping season preparation themed “Empowering smallholder farmers to do modern agriculture
as a way of shifting from producing enough to producing surplus”.
This campaign was organized to help farmers on critical factors including but not limited to selection of crops and cropping patterns, basic knowledge on improved seeds, cropping systems, good agricultural practices, use of agricultural inputs in a precise and effective way all in hand of increasing food production in cropping season 21A.
Training of farmer promoters & facilitators
Farmer promotors and facilitors are the heart of delivering extension services to the farmers through in Twigire Muhinzi Program, with building their capacity on Agricultural skills and knowledge, we trained Farmer promoters and farmer field school facilitators from Musanze district on good agriculture practices (GAPs) in hand of helping us to extend our extension services delivery to farmers. Farmer promotors and facilitators from Kimonyi, Gataraga and Busogo sector in Musanze district got a training about agricultural skills and practices.
Youth Engagement in Agriculture Campaign via social media
In collaboration with Rwanda Youth in Agriculture Forum (RYAF), Youth Engagement
in Agriculture Network (YEAN) and Youth in Agro-ecology and Business Learning Track Africa (YALTA),
AGRIRESEARCH organization has organized the youth engagement in agriculture campaign via social
More than 22,000 including students from UR/CAVM, Youth Agricultural Innovators, Youth forums, Farmer organizations and other institutions were reached out through social media and webinar and got insights on theme “Contribution of youth in Agriculture to the world’s pathway of success”. The campaign has eventually proved to youth and widens their view to see agriculture not only as crop cultivation, but all those opportunities that bud from it and a wider field that hosts more inventions.
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Precise use of agriculture inputs (agrochemicals) campaign in Musanze district
Pesticides and chemical fertilizers malpractice among small -scale
farmers have contributed to environmental pollution. Offsite movement of transformation
products of pesticides and chemical fertilizers contaminate ground water, exposing humans
to the chemicals through drinking water, and harm the aquatic ecosystem, leading to the death
of fishes and pollinators. Similarly, defective chemical fertilizers application methods have
harmful effects on both our surroundings and health. Equipping growers and agrochemicals dealers
with sufficient knowledge regarding proper use, handling and the potential dangers of pesticides
improper practices is the only practically feasible solution. In fact, farming communities,
the developing worlds’ have not a good level of such knowledge.
In this context, AGRIRESEARCH Organization in collaboration with MUSANZE district has organized the campaign on the proper use of agriculture input (A agrochemicals). The campaign has brought together Musanze district director of agriculture and natural resources, district agronomist and all Musanze sector agronomists, to discuss together the status of this problem in this district and a way forward to help small scale and other farmers to access real-time information on the use of agricultural inputs as precise and simple as possible to increase farm productivity and profitability while ensuring farmers safety and protecting the environment.
TRANSFORMATIONAL IMPACT OF OUR ACTIVITIES
Since AGRIRESEARCH organization started operating its activities on the
territory of Rwanda in 2020, many changes were observed and beneficiaries witness how
working with this organization has helped them in improving their standards of living.
In fact, our past experience has showed to us that working relentlessly to support smallholder
farmers is a key to agriculture transformation and building sustainable resilient food systems.
Below is the testimony, A farmer promoter GAKURU from Kimonyi sector, Musanze district, witnessing how AGRIRESEARCH has helped them to boost maize yield.
Digital extension tools
The role of extension has thus widened to include issues in
rural areas that go beyond agriculture and may include services such
as dissemination of information about markets, facilitation of
linkages among market actors. Some of these tasks are unlikely to
be undertaken by the types of organizations normally associated with
extension. As a result, access to updated agricultural information
and market is still among the major problems farmers are facing in
Rwanda and developing countries. Therefore, to address the issue,
we developed AGRITrials; a mobile application that connects farmers,
agricultural students, agronomists, buyers and field experts to share
knowledge and experience across a wide range of topics including Agricultural research and extension
Also, in response to the effects of climate change and in efforts to boost productivity, advances in agricultural technologies have allowed increased access to artificial fertilizers, chemical pesticides, and high yield potential seed varieties. Nonetheless, most of small scale farmers are illiterate and thus, they lack information and knowledge on the proper and efficient use of those agricultural inputs. Indeed, this has led to devastating effects ranging from low yields, environmental pollution to potentially deadly human health conditions.
Therefore, we developed SmartInput; a relatively intuitive mobile application that helps small scale farmers to access real-time information on the use of agricultural inputs as precise and simple as possible to increase farm productivity and profitability while ensuring farmers safety and protecting the environment.
In response to the desperate need for an environment which can instill research culture in the
youth and boost hands-on experience to the agriculture students, in 2018 “Agriresearch” club was created in
University of Rwanda, College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Busogo Campus,
(UR-CAVM) by Abdu USANASE, the founder and CEO of AGRIRESEARCH Organization. The club has five missions: to
foster research culture in youth; to increase youth engagement in agriculture; to diversify crop production;
to increase crop productivity; and to reduce post-harvest losses. With the handful missions, this research
club aims to contribute significantly towards making the Rwanda’s agricultural industry a less
climate-sensitive, environment friendly, and resilient leading economic sector. Since it started its
operations, more than 500 students from UR-CAVM have passed through the club and are remarkably contributing
a lot towards agribusiness transformation.
To mention but a few, in 2019, the first alumni of the club have initiated an organization called AGRIRESEARCH Organization, a national non-governmental organization that does agriculture research and extension services. It is a renowned organization in Rwanda that is transforming agriculture sector. AGRIRESEARCH Organization in collaboration with UR-CAVM, are continuously supporting the club in helping the students in various ways including but not limited to gaining practical skills through its services of conducting agriculture research and doing community outreach which eventually transform them (students) to highly competitive scholars on labor market and farmers’ lives around the campus have been transformed as well.
In 2020, amidst Covid-19 crisis that dreadful impacted global economy and food security, Global Leadership Transformation Alliance E-News has featured AGRIRESEARCH club as a research club which continued its activities in researching the possible solutions in Rwanda regarding food security, by creating demonstration plots and teaching the local community about improved agriculture production.
In 2021, the club has initiated a broadcasting program, named AGRIRESEARCH INSPIRATIONAL Time on CMB, UR-CAVM students’ radio station, through which important agriculture information including new technologies, innovations and opportunities, among others, are shared to the students’ community and farmers on air every week. So far, more than 2000 farmers and agriculture students were recorded as beneficiaries of the program every week.
Furthermore, in 2021, this club was featured in University of Rwanda’s Newsletter as a club that looks to revolutionize agriculture sector. The last but not the least, following its transformative impacts to the campus and Farmers' community in general, the club has been two times nominated as the champion of the best club of 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 years at Busogo Campus, respectively.
In summary, since 2018, Four (4) research projects were completed. More than 30000 community of farmers and agriculture students were reached through extension and community outreach programs. Six (6) famous local and international press mentions. 4810 followers on Twitter account and still counting. Above all, more than 500 students from UR-CAVM passed through the club with about 200 active members and 300 graduates who now belongs in AGRIRESEARCH club alumni network. The network not only brings together the alumni of Agriresearch club, but also help in keeping the data base of all students who passed through the club, that makes it easier to sustain them and support their initiatives even after graduation. In fact, this has greater impact in creating jobs for these graduates and improving their standards of living through the support of AGRIRESEARCH Organization and University of Rwanda. The support includes trainings and mentorship, networking and helping them to have access to finance.