|dc.description.abstract||Rwanda, in its transition phase since 1994, has had the support of major international
development organizations, including the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), the United Nations Development Program, the US Agency for
International Development (USAID), and other development organizations. The aim
of this support is to promote Rwandan agriculture in which 45 percent of the
Rwandan GDP and 90 percent of employment share originate. The possible role that
farmers can play in this process through their small-scale farmers' associations is well
recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda.
Farmers in Gikongoro province, the study area, are constrained by many factors, such
as soil infertility, small land areas, and lack of access to modern inputs (e.g., seed,
fertilizer and lime) and agricultural credit. In addition, land degradation in the form of
soil erosion, soil acidity, and nutrient depletion undermines soil productivity leading
to poor crop yields, and keeps farmers dependent on potential support from
government and non-governmental projects. Between 2000 and 2004, farmers in
Gikongoro province received support from the Development Activity Program (DAP)
under the umbrella of World Vision International, Rwanda. The DAP supports
farmers mainly in land terracing for soil erosion control, and supported farmers also
receive modern inputs (fertilizer, seed and lime), storage facilities, and training.
This study analyzes the impact of agricultural assistance afforded by the DAP and
socioeconomic characteristics of households on agricultural production in Gikongoro
province. Data for this study were collected from July to August 2004 using a
stratified multistage sample of 204 household heads who are members of 24 farmers'
associations of which 10 are supported by the DAP in the three districts;
Mudasomwa, Kivu, and Nyamagabe. The study compares DAP supported and
unsupported farmers in terms of differences in household incomes and crop yields.
Descriptive statistics indicate that DAP supported farmers have significantly higher
yields, household income, and better access to modern inputs and terraced land than
unsupported farmers. These results seem to indicate that DAP support has had a
significant impact on agricultural production and household incomes in Gikongoro
province. However, these results are based only on a univariate analysis.
The relationship between socioeconomic characteristics and household potato
production in Gikongoro province was also analyzed to identify other factors that
affect food production. A recursive system of linear and log-linear equations was
estimated to analyze the effects of DAP, cultivated potato area, liquidity, gender of
the household head (producer), years of schooling, family size, and age of the
producer on farmers' productivity as measured by potato yields. Investment in
operating inputs (fertilizer, seed, and lime) was used as a determinant of potato yields.
Results indicate that cultivated potato area, liquidity, family size, and age (greater
experience and lower transaction costs) of the household head significantly increase
the use of operating inputs, which in turn has a significant positive impact on potato
yield. The study suggests that DAP may need to be more selective in supporting
farmers, focusing more on the farm size, education and family size profile of
association members when deciding where to channel support. The study also
recommends more research into the efficiency of land rental and credit markets to
better understand land and liquidity constraints to improved household production in
Gikongoro province. A networking model for supporting farmers' associations is
proposed, in which a joint role for the Rwandan government, academic and research
institutions, NGOs, and the private sector is expected to lead to sustainable
agricultural development in Gikongoro province, Rwanda.||en