Tailoring Agroforestry Technologies to the Diversity of Rwandan Smallholder Agriculture

Smallholder livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa are constrained by a number of factors that limit food production and thereby threaten food security. Agroforestry is one of the promising options that can address these issues.

Farming systems are largely diversified and there is a need to identify Agroforestry technologies that fit with different farming settings. This PhD study applied an integrated approach combining characterization of farming systems, participatory tree testing, farmers evaluations of technologies, and scenario and trade-off analyses in two agro-ecological zones: Central Plateau (moderate altitude) and Buberuka (high altitude zone).


A farm and field typology was developed based on socio-economic and biophysical parameters. The study revealed differences in farmers’preferences and perceptions with regards to different agroforestry technologies within different agroecological zones. Agroforestry shrubs (Tephrosia and Calliandra) showed potential in adressing soil nutrient deficiencies in coffee and maize based farming systems. Furthermore, integratingCalliandra in livestock feeding appeared to be an option for improving milk production and farmer income in Rwandan smallholder farms.