Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda) with support from Kayonza Irrigation and Integrated Watershed Management Project (KIIWP) concluded training on Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) Approach for Agronomists of Kabare, Murundi, Gahini, Mwiri, Rwinkwavu, Kabarondo, Ndego, Murama and Ruramira sectors. The training took place from 18th to 22nd May 2022 at Dereva Hotel, Rwamagana District.
The training was also attended by some officials from Kayonza District, KIIWP staff, Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) representatives who support farmers’ cooperatives in Kayonza District. Rwanda has been hit by regular and repeated mid-season floods and droughts as a result of climate variability and change. Rainy seasons are becoming shorter but more intense, according to recent rainfall statistics. While strong floods cause significant landslides and soil erosion in the Western, Northern, and Southern Provinces, drought occurrences in the Eastern Province, especially Kayonza District, cause decreased agricultural productivity and livestock losses.
Nevertheless, better application of weather and climate information can significantly reduce the impacts from weather events. Evidences suggest that some parts of Eastern province including Kayonza District have been facing prolonged dry spells or not enough rainfall over few decades ago. On another hand, researches indicate that best agricultural practices which factor weather and climate information can improve the agricultural productivity.
Kamanzi Umutangana Audace, Agronomist of Mwili Sector said that before, they were not well aware of how they can use weather and climate information in farming activities.
“Apart from listening to weather forecast on Radio and TV, I never thought before that someone can match the crop variety to be planted with the rainfall expected or climatological data of a particular location,” said Audace.
Mwizerwa Emmanuel, Agronomist of Gahini Sector expressed his gratitude to Meteo Rwanda for having organized this training. He said that the knowledge acquired will help him in advising farmers of best practices based on weather and climate information.
“I will be able to advise farmers on how to boost productivity based on weather and climate information like selecting appropriate crops based on expected rainfall in particular season, check weather forecast while applying pesticides and so on.” Said Mwizerwa.
Kanuma Aphrodis, Agronomist in Rwinkwavu Sector said that they had been incurring losses from non-utilization of weather and climate information effectively.
“We incur losses from poor planning ahead of rainfall season. For example, there is no reason why I could advise farmers to plant maize that will require rainfall of 600 millimetres in a particular season yet I know that this location never had a chance of reaching 400 millimetres in a season unless they are able to use irrigation scheme.” Said Kanuma.
Aimable Gahigi, Director General of Rwanda Meteorology Agency informed trainees that Meteo Rwanda has an ambitious target to have Rwandans who can rely on weather and climate information in their livelihood and agricultural practices starting with Agronomists who interact with farmers every day.
“We are optimistic that from today you will be able to read the seasonal forecast provided by Meteo Rwanda and immediately know which advisories you convey to farmers. I also believe that you will be engaging Agro-dealers in selecting crop varieties that match the climatology of your location,” Director General reiterated.
Kayonza Irrigation and Integrated Watershed Management Project (KIIWP) is being implemented by Rwandan Government under support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to address the challenges of climate variability and change in Kayonza District.