Sharing successes of our climate services for agriculture project in Rwanda.
At the 13th National Agriculture show that was held at Mulindi showground from 26 June to 3 July 2018, farmers who benefited from trainings on using climate information services provided by the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project (RCSA) shared their success stories with their fellow farmers, farmer cooperatives and different entrepreneurs. At the show, farmers led learning sessions, discussing the use of climate information services to improve farm production and making informed decisions.
The National Agriculture Show is a yearly event organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources for farmers/entrepreneurs to showcase innovations and best practices in the agriculture sector. The event brings together exhibitors and visitors to exchange information and experiences, and is an opportunity for the development of agribusiness. This year’s theme was "Invest in Innovations and Agribusiness to Transform Agriculture."
#RwandaAgrishow2018 in front of the Consortium of International Agriculture Research Centers in Rwanda stand, farmers are happy to share the knowledge gained through training on #PICSA using climate info in agriculture. Do not miss testimonies from these champion farmers pic.twitter.com/PRSJB5Le4F— RCSAgriculture (@RwandaCSA) June 30, 2018
Since Rwandan farmers mostly rely on rain-fed agriculture, climate change-related risks greatly affect their farming activities. The RCSA project invests in transforming rural farming communities through enhanced climate risk management. The project provides climate information, training for farmers on the use of climate information, and advisory services to help them make informed decisions.
Learning from farmers’ success stories
During the 8 days of the agriculture show, the RCSA project with its local partners and farmers raised awareness on the use of climate services in agriculture. Among people who visited the RCSA stand, 343 people provided feedback in written form regarding climate services products being exhibited. Among the visitors were farmers, farmers’ cooperatives, members of the government, private institutions, international and local organizations, agronomists, journalists, local leaders, university lecturers, and students. Some of the feedback gathered included: appreciation of the efforts made by RCSA to improve community members' lives, requests to get the climate information to all farmers, requests for Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) trainings to be scaled out to more people, requests for partnerships, and requests for teaching materials to be available to most farming communities.
Knowledge sharing between trained farmers and other cooperatives members. Photo: Y. Munyangeri (CIAT)
Farmers’ testimonies were presented on roll-up banners, and they were used to help visitors read and ask questions. Groups of farmers could sit for 30 minutes to one hour listening and discussing the uses of climate information and its application on the farm with trained farmers.
“After appreciating the learning sessions that we are providing, farmers keep on informing their fellows, bringing them to learn from us. It is interesting and I am happy to share my experience,” said Wellars Kabalisa, one of the presenting farmers.
These discussions made the RCSA stand a target area for many farmers and the stand was full of visitors almost every day. Farmers enjoyed learning from their peers and RCSA project staff could present when visitors needed detailed information about the project, production of climate information, access, and partnership.
Raising awareness on climate information services through Radio Huguka
Radio Huguka, a partner of the RCSA project in disseminating climate information services, had its own stand hosting groups of people and debates. Groups of farmers, cooperative members and partners invited by the RCSA project debated live about the uses of climate information services in agriculture. These debates were open to listeners who could call in or text to ask questions which were being answered directly. With this, the radio received the Best Media Exhibitor Award of the 13th National Agriculture show.
Farmers really understand the importance of using climate information in their farming activities and they are very good at explaining the process to others. For sure, this award is due to their presentations and debates we had on the radio during this agriculture show!”
Florentine Mukarubayiza, Journalist and Head of Administration at Radio Huguka
Farmers with Radio Huguka Journalist posing for a photo after receiving the Best Media Exhibitor Award. Photo: Y. Munyangeri (CIAT)
Towards the end of the agriculture show, many farmers, farmer cooperatives, and entrepreneurs exchanged contacts with the presenters for further communication, and some of them made appointments for more learning sessions. Entrepreneurs including bank owners were interested in the success stories of farmers and were willing to do side meetings with them and discuss access to loans. Based on the requests made by visitors, the project plans to expand awareness of climate information services for agriculture to more farmers and other entrepreneurs, and aims to make climate information accessible to all farmers.
The Rwanda Climate Servies for Agriculture project is supported by USAID Rwanda and coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Main partners include Meteo-Rwanda, MINAGRI, Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Research Institute for Climate & Society (IRI) based at Columbia University, Reading University, Radio Huguka, DERN, N-Frnds, and Caritas (Caritas Kibungo, Caritas Butare and Caritas Kibuye).