New Climate Services Program in Rwanda Aims to Reach One Million Farmers
To build a more climate-resilient agriculture sector, the Rwandan government and partners are taking action to provide nearly a million farmers timely access to essential climate information services. The Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project will ultimately help transform Rwanda's rural farming communities and national economy through improved climate risk management. The project builds on ongoing innovations made by IRI's Enhancing National Climate Services initiative (ENACTS), which filled in a 15-year gap in Rwanda's historical meteorological records. Agriculture contributes to one-third of Rwanda's gross domestic production and remains the main source of subsistence for the majority of the country's population. Farming employs eight out of ten Rwandans. Despite its importance, the sector remains highly vulnerable to current and projected climate and weather variability. Severe flooding in 2007, for example, caused an estimated US$22 million in two districts alone. Recurrent hail and wind storms, heavy rains and prolonged droughts take frequent tolls on agricultural productivity. Such weather events are expected to become more frequent and intensive with climate change, posing a threat to food security.