Rwanda's Green Fund to launch sustainable agroforestry and biomass energy investment at Forest Planting Day

Rwanda's National Fund for the Environment and Climate Change will launch a sustainable agroforestry and biomass energy investment at the 2015/15 Forest Planting Day. The investment is located in Gatsibo District and is valued at Rwf 1,469,171,600 or approximately US $2 million.

Gatsibo has undergone intensive deforestation in the last few decades, which has led to a scarcity of wood for fuel - the primary source of energy in the district. The Green Fund investment will rehabilitate 500 ha of degraded forests, create 3,000 ha of woodlots for environmental protection, plant 15,000 ha of agroforestry trees for soil fertility and promote improved cook-stoves to reduce pressure on forest resources. This project will benefit 19,317 poor households, which represents 17% of the total population of Gatsibo District.

This investment is made to the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, which is the lead implementing organisation for the project. The expected impact and legacy of the investment is:
1. Increase in productivity of rehabilitated forests
2. Increased tree cover, improved soil fertility and crop yields
3. Increased availability and access to fuel-wood at household level
4. Increased knowledge and practice of agroforestry
5. Reduced household consumption and energy expenditure on fuel-wood collection
6. Increased access and use of improved cook-stoves
7. Green jobs created for the poor
8. Increased knowledge on environment and climate change issues, hence increased climate change resilience

More about the 2015/16 Forest Planting Season

Rwanda’s National Forest Planting Day and Season brings together millions of Rwandans to plant millions of trees in an effort to protect the environment and avail forest resources needed for economic development and the improvement of the livelihoods of Rwandans.

The launch of the 2015/16 season is taking place in Gatsibo District on 28th November 2015. During the event, a sustainable agroforestry and biomass energy project supported through an investment by Rwanda’s Fund for the Environment and Climate Change (FONERWA) will be inaugurated.

Members of the East African Legislature Assembly will join Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, and other guests to kick off this year’s Forest Planting Season.

The theme of this year’s season is “Efficient use of biomass energy to safeguard our forests”. At the launch event in Mishunzi, Kiziguro Sector, Gatsibo District, 160,000 forests trees will be planted on over 100 hectares of public land. Across the country, more than 30 million seedlings will be planted as part of the 2015/16 Forest Planting Season.

During this year’s season, trees will be planted on 7,818 hectares of forest land, 49,000 hectares of agricultural land and 1,010 hectares of public forests will be rehabilitated. Altogether, 2.5% of the country’s land will be planted. Planting trees helps to protect the environment and improve the quality of land, therefore supporting sustainable production.

The Government of Rwanda will use this Forest Planting Season as a chance to encourage citizens to use less charcoal and instead adopt alternative sources of energy such as gas and solar.

“I want to encourage all Rwandans to plant as many trees as they can to help prevent erosion and rehabilitate our natural forests. During this forest season, we are calling on citizens to use less charcoal and instead explore alternative sources of energy such as biogas, LPG and solar energy,” Minister Biruta said.

“According to the most recent Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4), 98.5% of households in Rwanda use fuel wood and charcoal. That percentage needs to be halved. We can achieve this by using biogas, LPG, improved cook stoves and other clean energy sources,” the Minister added.

Rwanda’s forests cover 695,795 hectares (about 29.3%) of the country’s total land area. Over 258,000 hectares are natural forests and savannah (i.e. 38% of total forest land or 11% of the country). The forestry sector contributes significantly to Rwanda’s economy through the timber and charcoal trade.

During the 2015/16 Forest Planting Season, the following tree planting activities will take place:
– New forest woodlots will be created on 7,818 hectares on public and private land;
– More than 49,000 hectares of agroforestry trees will be planted in agricultural land;
– About 1,010 hectares of public forest land will be rehabilitated to improve productivity;
– Trees will be planted on roadsides, urban spaces, along rivers andwater bodies;
– More than 40,000 fruit trees will be planted in Nyagatare, Ngoma and Kamonyi districts;
– Bamboo trees will also be planted in gullies to help rehabilitate degraded land.

In Gatsibo alone, about 7,500 hectares of agroforestry be planted, new woodlots will be created on 1,500 hectares of public and private land while 250 hectares of degraded forests will be rehabilitated. To encourage people to use less wood and charcoal for cooking, 19,000 improved cook stoves will be given to vulnerable residents of Gatsibo District.