Potential Impact of Alternative Agricultural Technologies to Ensure Food Security and Raise Income of Farm Households in Rwanda

Bidogeza, J.C.; Berentsen, P.B.M.; Graaff, J. de; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M.


Rapid population growth and stagnation of agricultural yields in Rwanda have caused a steady decline in food production per capita, a continuous expansion towards the use of marginal land and a strong degradation of land. The challenge of simultaneously achieving food security, rural welfare, land protection and soil fertility regeneration in the face of its high population is overwhelming to Rwanda. The objectives of this article are to assess the potential impacts of the alternative agricultural technologies on income, food production and soil loss for four arable farm household types and to assess policies that could induce adoption of these technologies. These include combined use of Tithonia diversifolia (green manure) and Diammonium phosphate. The bio-economic farm household model used has a form of a mathematical form of quadratic programming model. Model results show that these alternative agricultural technologies will clearly enhance food production and income for all farm household types except the full-time farm household for which cash at the beginning of the season is too restricted to switch to the new technologies. The outcomes of the model also reveal that with alternative technologies soil loss and soil organic carbon do not entail negative economic consequences. Off-farm employment policy will have a high impact on adoption among households with small farms and less off-farm opportunities because it provides cash that is needed to adopt the new technologies.