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Rwanda’s energy sector is characterized by over dependence on biomass energy resources, responsible for 85% of its energy needs. 99% of Rwandans use biomass as the main source of energy for cooking making biomass a very critical energy option across the country. Exploitation of biomass for energy is a major cause of destruction of forest resources that affects the environment, leads to water scarcity and floods and reduces agricultural productivity.

The expected results from implementation of a domestic biogas program focuses on reduction of biomass resource depletion and a significant improvement in the quality of life of the participating families, the benefits relate to:

1) Saving of conventional fuel sources, mainly firewood;
2) Reduction of workload, especially of women and children;
3) Improvement in health and sanitation conditions, benefiting especially women and children;
4) Increase in agricultural production with proper utilization of slurry;
5) Employment generation;
6) Reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
While installation of biogas system based on cow dung has been widespread countrywide the construction of big based biogas systems has not yet been practiced while a number of families is rearing pigs in the rural areas of Rwanda. In this regards, Sustainable Agricultural for Food Security and Economic Development (SAFE) has undertaken an action research project aiming at reducing the workload of small scale farmers especially women through introduction of pig based biogas systems as an alternative cooking energy that will contribute to mitigate the challenges encountered by small holder farmers in increasing income and growing more food for a growing population in uncertain climatic and economic conditions.


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SAFE has received financial support from IFAD to implement the Joint Programme “Accelerating progress towards economic empowerment of rural women in Rwanda" (JP RWEE) in Kirehe district of the Eastern Province.

The project is contributing to the district development plans especially on the following identified key priority areas:

  • Assisting rural Women’s groups/associations to upgrade to formal cooperatives,
  • Introducing and supporting “GALS” at scale for community and household development
  • Training and providing common henhouses for laying hens and broilers
  • Training and providing seeds to enable 67 vulnerable women-headed households to establish kitchen gardens

In the current reporting period (October 2016), SAFE has conducted a study visit to GALS community with an aim to disseminate knowledge on GALS outcomes and sharing experience on rolling out the activity as well as discussing on further opportunities to scaling up the methodology.

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The horticulture sector has been prioritized by the Government of Rwanda (GoR) as the third contributor to agricultural export earnings after tea and coffee (NAEB 2013), and in its potential to alleviate rural poverty directly via (i) participation of small producer in supply chains of different market actors (production and selling fresh and dried fruits and vegetables), (ii) creating employment opportunities as hired labor, and in value added activities (processing and drying), (iii) import substitution of fruits that are currently being imported from middle east.

Rwanda has a wide range of agro-climates suitable for the production of horticultural crops especially in the Eastern, Southern and Northern zones, and some parts of western zones are also ideal locations for the sub sector.

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Under SAFE initiative on Organic pineapple growing for wealth and environment that aims to discuss ways of scaling up organic pineapple growing for these two purposes during which discussion challenges, opportunities and benefits in this new venture will be explored and actions/commitment made by different stakeholders, mainly pineapple growers, their cooperatives (at primary and union level), processing plants, traders and supporters.


More specifically the workshop seeks to: support women pineapple growers’ adoption of organic farming practices to increase volumes and quality of production; To facilitate smallholder women access higher rewards from organic pineapple which is the doubled or tripled income from exporting organic produce.

SAFE convened a one-day workshop with a theme ‘Organic Pineapple for Wealth and Environment Event” that took place on Tuesday 17th May 2016 at Kirehe district


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