The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity is a five-year, $32.6 million USAID-funded project that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. Hinga Weze implements holistic interventions that target the interrelated issues of undernutrition, food insecurity and barriers to agricultural productivity by focusing on the sustainable intensification of Rwandan smallholder farming systems, with an emphasis on climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive approaches. Hinga Weze is utilizing innovative approaches to enhance the production of five value chains: high-iron beans, orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), Irish potato, maize, and horticulture. By 2022, the project will have benefited over 700,000 smallholder farmers in ten target districts: Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma (Eastern Province); Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyamasheke, and Karongi (Western Province); and Nyamagabe (Southern Province).
The Hinga Weze consortium includes a diverse group of both international and local Rwandan partner organizations, including Plan International, HarvestPlus, Souktel, Rwanda Development Organization (RDO) and the Imbaraga Farmers’ Federation. The project will achieve results by promoting household and community-level behavior changes through cost-effective interventions and a systems approach that prioritizes collaboration with stakeholders from the government, private and civil society sectors.
- Increasing agricultural productivity: Increases in agricultural production can lead to improved household consumption and dietary diversity that is critical to reducing undernutrition in Rwanda. Hinga Weze is focusing on interventions that support an integrated systems approach to agriculture productivity that follows the principles of sustainable land and water use, with particular attention to climate-smart technologies of relevance to Rwanda. This approach will contribute to the resilience of farming systems by improving water management, preventing soil erosion, and maximizing the effectiveness of input use through integrated soil fertility management.
- Expanding farmers’ access to markets: Access to markets is a key incentive for increasing productivity and provides additional avenues for farmers to boost their incomes. In order to enhance farmers’ competitiveness and expand access to markets, Hinga Weze is aiming to increase farmers’ access to post-harvest equipment and facilities, market information, and credit and financial services.
- Improving nutritional outcome of agriculture interventions: Increasing dietary diversity and ensuring the production of hygienic and safe foods is critical to addressing challenges with undernutrition and food security in Rwanda. Hinga Weze is focusing on strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition activities, and ensures that activities have a distinct focus, aimed at improving the nutritional status in target communities and families. The nutrition component is reliant upon the other two approaches of increasing agricultural productivity and expanding access to markets in order to ensure the availability and accessibility of nutrient-rich food to increase dietary diversity.