Measuring and enhancing effective adaption in Rwanda

By Marie Chanoine

I have just returned from attending the 9th International Conference on Community- Based Adaptation (CBA9). It was attended by a broad range of stakeholders besides IFAD, such as; meteorological services, national natural resources management agencies, bilateral donors, international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector. It was a perfect opportunity to meet a diverse group of people all of whom are interested in adaptation initiatives.

IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is supporting the Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support (PASP) project in Rwanda . The CBA9 conference was a great prospect for PASP to be involved in, allowing us to learn more on effective adaptation initiatives that can be replicated in Rwanda. Throughout the sessions, researchers and development practitioners stressed the importance of capacity building, mainstreaming adaptation measures into national policies, involving the private sector and understanding the local context (challenges and opportunities) for tailoring a project that responds to communities’ needs.

However, I was quite surprised to see that most of the presented CBA’s initiatives focused on crop productivity and livestock while little attention is given to post-harvest losses.  Therefore, the presentation of our poster on Post-harvest and agribusiness in the PASP project was extremely appropriate to the CBA 9 theme “Measuring and Enhancing effective adaptation”.  Indeed, PASP is an ‘avant-garde’ project that enhances local capacity by supporting five main commodities, from harvest to markets. It is enabling smallholder access to financial resources for investing in post-harvest climate–resilient technologies (e.g. solar dryers or cooling systems). PASP also corresponds to the existing national policy and sectorial strategies and supports national climate change adaptation priorities. Post-harvest loss causes are not limited to pests, pathogens, spoilage and damages but also by a lack of suitable storage structure and an absence of management technologies and practices. Moreover, these losses are exacerbated by climate variability and climate change effects. That is the reason why there is a tremendous need to develop and strengthen adaptation opportunities for smallholder farmers.

How M&E is so critical for enhancing adaptation?

In the case of the PASP project in Rwanda, ASAP funds will facilitate a better understanding of how current and future agro-meteorological conditions influences harvest and post-harvest activities and estimate current losses and critical stages of the value chain. As a result, these activities will thus ensure that rural infrastructures and related investments are resilient to the changing climatic patterns.

PASP have only just begun to tackle these issues, however the determination of the project staff will ensure their success.