Global Bites: Nebraska alumni contribute to report on smallholder irrigation in Rwanda

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Global Bites: Nebraska alumni contribute to report on smallholder irrigation in Rwanda

"Global Bites" is a new series from the Institute of Natural Resources sharing "bite-sized" chunks of our international engagement. Longer than a tweet, but quick enough to eat up in a small break in your day. Enjoy these exciting updates about the global research cooperation, extension work, and learning activities happening throughout the Institute. 

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources alumni Natacha Akaliza, Ferdinand Turatsinze, and Raissa Urujeni, alongside Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute's Nicolas Brozovic, Lacey Bodnar, and Grace Mukarusagara contributed to a new report on the current state of irrigation-as-a-service for smallholder farmers in Rwanda. Two of the alumni, Akaliza and Urugenji, currently serve as program consultants on-ground in Rwanda. 

"Coming from rural areas in Rwanda where over 75% of population do farming for living despite struggling from poor irrigation technology, entrepreneurship skills, and chronic malnutrition is the only drive that I needed working on this project for two years after graduation," said Turatsinze, a Nebraska alumnus and former program consultant on the project. 


Via the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute:

DWFI releases report on smallholder farmer access to irrigation services in Rwanda: 

Irrigation services in Rwanda reveal key insights into finding scalable, farmer-led solutions to increase irrigated agriculture. IIn a new report, "Current state of irrigation-as-a-service for smallholder farmers in Rwanda," DWFI explores way smallholder farmers access irrigation when they do not own irrigation equipment, through lendin gand renting, and how some smallholder farmers become irrigation entrepreneurs. 

The report is a continuation of the research by the DWFI team in Rwanda based on their many interviews with smallholder farmers, business owners, government officials and non-profit employees. In May 2022, DWFI published an overview of irrigation goods and services in Rwanda and the organizations involved in the business ecosystem. This new report focuses on the three districts of Rwanda's most drought-prone region and how irrigation-as-a-service is conducted there.

Key insights from this research are:  

1. Farmers who don't have their own equipment get access to irrigation in a lot of different ways. 

2. Various business models provide irrigation systems within informal markets, including: farmer-to-farmer lending, enterpreneur-to-farmer rentals, and water tanker trucks. 

3. Informal markets have an effect on the landscape that is unrecognized and important. Loaning and renting leverages investments in irrigation equipment to increase access to irrigation and irrigated areas. 

To read more about these key insights and the teams's recommendations for supporting smallholder irrigation, the full report can be found here