Constraints and opportunities for promoting smallholder maize farmers in three contrastingagro-ecological zones of Rwanda

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Date
2015
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
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Publisher
University of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
This study examined the constraints and opportunities for promoting smallholder maize farmers in three agro-ecological zones of Rwanda. Maize production in Rwanda is grown under rain fed condition, however the production is threatened by series of constraints that hinder not only the livelihood of the farming population but also the meeting of the government objective for agriculture sector transformation. Different methods were used in data collection, namely literature review, household questionnaire survey, participatory field observations, Focus Group Discussions and key informant interview. The findings show that there has been a decline in maize production of about 39% over the period 1987-2000 and till today smallholder farmers are rarely consulted about their special circumstances, priorities constraints, and their preferences with regards to production packages. Findings from the study show that the intensive land use and land shortage compel farmers not to fallow their land, and it was revealed that 71.3%, 68.3% and 40.4% of respondents from Baberuka highland, Eastern savanna and central plateau agro-ecological zones respectively reported the problem of low soil fertility. Results also revealed that smallholder maize farmers in all agroecological zones have problems of high cost of inputs especially fertilizers. Despite these constraints, the findings show that increasing of population growth has raised the demand for agricultural products which have in return increased the opportunities of the expansion of the smallholder agriculture and the market as well. The study concluded that majority of smallholder maize farmers have less than 0.5 ha of land, and this is due to subdivision of small and uneconomical units within families. Also the development of smallholder maize farmers can lead to a faster rate of poverty reduction, raising rural cultivator income and also reducing food expenditure. The study recommended that the GoR should put more emphasize on research and extension services to the smallholder farms, train smallholder maize farmers how to use modern technologies also to reach even those in remote areas.
Description
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library (THS EAF HD1476.R95M87)
Keywords
Farms, Small, Corn, Rwanda
Citation
Mutesa, F. (2015) Constraints and opportunities for promoting smallholder maize farmers in three contrastingagro-ecological zones of Rwanda, Master Dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam