Piloting Climate Mainstreaming in the Tea and Coffee Sectors of Rwanda

Agri-TAF has been supporting MINAGRI to pilot climate mainstreaming in sector development and investment planning, jointly developing methods and testing these in the tea and coffee sectors.

Tea and coffee are extremely important cash crops in Rwanda.  They account for over 20% of total exports by value and they support hundreds of thousands of rural livelihoods. Rwanda has a suitable climate for growing high quality tea and coffee, and the MINAGRI sector development plans are improving the productivity and quality in current areas, as well developing new sites to increase the area under production.

However, tea and coffee are climate sensitive crops.  Productivity and quality are impacted (today) by climate variability and extremes, and there are major risks from future climate change, due to rising temperatures, increasing extremes and shifting agro-climatic zones.  There is therefore a need to integrate climate adaptation into sector planning and investment. This is particularly important for the new expansion plans, as it will take decades to fully develop these new green field sites, and they will therefore be exposed to future climate change. As these developments involve land-use change (lock-in), it is important to choose their locations carefully to ensure they are suitable for tea and coffee production in the future climate (rather than the current), i.e. to make the investments climate smart.

Against this background, Agri-TAF has supported MINAGRI to develop new mainstreaming methods and to test these with a pilot study in the tea and coffee sectors. This involved the detailed design of a sector mainstreaming project, which was submitted to Rwanda’s national climate and environment fund, FONERWA.  This application was successfully and has secured $2 million of finance.  The project started in early 2017 and will run for three years.  It is managed by MINAGRI and includes the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), and implementation partners.

The project will introduce climate smart agriculture into the tea and coffee sectors to help address current climate variability, such as with the shade trees and tree belts. It is also providing climate risk information on the future siting of tea plantations, to ensure the sector expansion is climate smart. Finally, it is investing in monitoring and research to help prepare for future risks from pests and diseases under the changing climate.

The project delivers against a number key Agri-TAF indicators, with improved capacity (in MINAGRI and its agencies) to mainstream cross-cutting issues in agricultural policies, plans, and programmes; and through the number of project proposals that get funding for mainstreaming climate change. The lessons from this study were used to help develop the climate and environment mainstreaming in PSTA4.

 

Learn more about the project from the video ‘Adapting Rwanda’, available at:

Climate risk mapping of new plantations for the project