Trying to understand how farmers grow beans in Rwanda

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My focus is on climbing beans from Northern Rwanda and their potentials to fix biological nitrogen. I am conducting a ten month MSc research project with Plant Production Systems (Wageningen University) and CIAT-TSBF, in two N2Africa mandate areas. I just completed four months of data collection, during which I quantified in detail farmers management and their perceptions on beans for their livelihood and farming system. 

First results show, that the well-documented governmental typology of households, called ‘Ubudehe’, is ideal to differentiate different farm types in rural Rwanda. The strategies and productivity of these farm types will be tested. Availability and quality of stakes were perceived by farmers as the crucial resource to increase climbing bean productivity as well as access to organic manure. Whereas farmers in the humid North invest in intensification, with short duration, high yielding crops, farmers from dry Bugesera rely more on perennial crops and livestock. The heterogeneity within the sites and within one farm will be further explored in the analysis. This work contributes to the N2Africa baseline and gives opportunity to analyse niches for interventions.

Thanks to the good cooperation among the N2Africa partners in Rwanda, my study was very well facilitated especially the work with the rural farmers in the North.

Moritz Reckling