Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program II: Efficiency gains in dairy production systemsEast Africa


The Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program II (RDCP II) is a 5-year project implemented in 17 districts in Rwanda with funding from USAID. In Rwanda, approximately 60% of households rear livestock (Bizimana et al. 2012)/taxonomy/term/7881, and agriculture employs 70% of the Rwandan labour force (Ishihara et al. 2016)/taxonomy/term/7892. The objective of RDCP II was to expand production and marketing of quality milk and increase household incomes. RDCP II focused on the entire dairy value chain, aiming to stimulate investment and improve management practices at several links in the chain. CSA practices undertook by RDCP II included: feed quality improvements, breeding improvements, herd size management, feed quantity and herd weight dynamics.

The Relationship with CSA

Farmers benefitted from increased herd size and cow weight and increased efficiencies in the dairy value chain.  Farmers’ improvements in productivity also resulted in relative mitigation benefits. Although total annual GHG emissions increased due to increased herd size and cow weight, the project caused a strong decrease in GHG emission intensity of milk production.

Impact and lessons learned

As a result of feed improvements, the use of improved breeds and the expansion of animal health services, milk productivity increased in extensive dairy cattle production systems by 97% and in intensive dairy cattle production systems by 49%. Average milk yield improved, and average number of lactating days increased. Furthermore, post-production losses were reduced by an estimated 25%. The improvement of feed quality and breeding improvements resulted in estimated annual GHG mitigation benefits. However, increases in herd size and animal weight resulted in increased GHG emissions, although emission intensity per litre of milk was reduced as a result of the increase in milk production. 

Link to info note


  • 1

    Bizimana C, Usengumukiza F, Kalisa J, Rwirahira J. 2012. Trends in Key Agricultural and Rural Development Indicators in Rwanda. Kigali, Rwanda: Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI). This report gives an account of the progress towards achieving the Vision 2020 goals and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) targets, the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1), and the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact in Rwanda. It is significant that these various targets have a common goal of engendering the modernization and transformation of the agriculture sector.
  • 2

    Ishihara Y, Bundervoet T, Sanghi A, Nishiuchi T. 2016. Rwanda - Economic update: Rwanda at work. Rwanda economic update 9(1). Washington, DC: World Bank. Rwanda’s growth rates during the past few years exceeded the growth rates of developing countries, except for in 2013 when Rwanda’s growth decelerated to 4.7 percent. Among the 181 economies where 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate data is available, Rwanda’s growth rate of 7.0 percent is more than twice as high as the average of the 181 economies (3.2 percent), and is ranked 20th globally. Going forward, Rwanda’s growth rates are projected to exceed global growth rates in 2015-2017. This edition focuses on jobs in particular the employment dynamics of the past decade.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

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