An investigation into agricultural research and extension in Rwanda was undertaken by the Rwandan Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock Development and Environment, from 11-24 May, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Institute (NRI).
NRI has set up a programme of support to the Rwandan Parliamentary Committee with funding from DFID's Research into Use Programme. This support has helped coordinate both an investigation in the district of Huye, Southern Rwanda, based on the method of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), and a Parliamentary Inquiry.
First, a training course led by Fedra Vanhuyse of NRI on PRA was given in Kigali to a group including 10 members of Parliament and the Committee Clerk, during which the team developed the research questions and methodology for the field visit. Attention was given to interviewing tools and techniques, and guidelines were drafted for the Inquiry. Subsequently, the group visited seven areas within Huye District as well as three research centres of the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in order to assess the situation regarding agricultural research and extension.
Over 800 people from the farming communities, the private sector, NGOs and the local government administration were consulted, with women making up 43% of the participants.
Questions were asked in three areas: the current situation and whether they are aware of a policy on agricultural research and extension; the impact of Rwanda's current agricultural research and extension work; and recommendations were sought for enhancing uptake and developing the agricultural sector.
On Thursday 24 May the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock Development and Environment led a Parliamentary Inquiry on the subject. Subsequent discussions were then held between the Committee and NRI on how to proceed with this programme to strengthen capacity in order to increase the knowledge on legislation, procedures and processes of the MPs, and to boost the development of agriculture to benefit the population of Rwanda.