Exploring opportunities for sustainable intensification and diversification of rice-based farming systems in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa

This study aims to understand crop and farm intensification and diversification in the great lakes region of central Africa as a major avenue to improving farmers’ livelihoods and will evaluate the potential of other staple crops (e.g. potatoes and sweet potatoes), pulses and vegetables as diversification options in rice-based farming systems.

An extended introduction to the topic is available, following give insight in the work that is requested. In principle this is intended as Internship with AfricaRice but options for making this into a thesis can be discussed.

Given the political stability in the region not all sites are possible for Wageningen students, the most likely is Rwanda. Congo is not okay at present and will be covered in another way.


The objectives of this study are to (i) characterize rice-based farming systems, (ii) identify constraints to rice production and use of wetlands, and (iii) explore opportunities for improving farmers’ food, income and nutrition security as well as environmental sustainability of wetlands through sustainable intensification and diversification.


The study will characterize current rice-based farming systems with multi-dimensional sustainability indicators consisting of domains of productivity, economic sustainability, environment sustainability, and human wellbeing, and social sustainability, and explore trade-offs and synergies for these five domains among different types of current rice-based farming systems. Indicators to be used will be jointly designed among students and staff involving in this project from different institutes (see below) based on Smith et al. (2016). Minimum common indicators will be determined for all the target countries for cross-country analyses.

Specific activities will include expert consultation, surveys and stakeholder workshops to collect bio-physical, socio-economic and nutritional information on rice-based farming systems, assess resource allocation patterns, and measure socioeconomic and environmental sustainability, as well as and human wellbeing. Collected information will be used for situation and scenario analyses to identify opportunities.


One or two sites each in Burundi, Eastern part of DR Congo, and Rwanda.

Study period

Up to 3 months, starting from Sept-Oct 2017.