University of Sussex
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Agricultural intensification and smallholder crop-livestock integration in Rwanda

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posted on 2023-06-09, 12:47 authored by Sung Kyu KimSung Kyu Kim
This thesis is about agricultural intensification and the role of smallholder farmers in the future of agriculture in Rwanda. Intensification of agriculture has been the central objective of policy in Rwanda since independence in 1962. Over five decades, one of the dominant approaches to achieving this goal has been through mixed farming, i.e. the integration of crop and livestock production. However, despite continued efforts to transform agricultural and rural livelihood through mixed farming, many farmers have not achieved intensification. Thus, there seems to be a critical disjuncture between the government’s vision of modern agriculture based on increasing levels of intensification and commercialisation, and the ability of many smallholders to engage with this intensification and commercialisation agenda. In this thesis, I argue that the disjuncture between the long-standing policy objective and Rwanda’s rural realities poses serious repercussions to the rural development and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. I substantiate the argument by addressing the following question: “how does the integration of crop and livestock production contribute to agricultural intensification for smallholder farmers in Rwanda?” Firstly, I situate the research context within the historical development of agricultural policies promoting the mixed farming agenda. Secondly, I study two villages in Rwamagana district as rural and peri-urban cases. Various patterns of interactions between crop and livestock production systems are identified, characterised and analysed within the broader household livelihood strategies. Thirdly, I incorporate the life history accounts of farmers with diverse background and capabilities to engage in mixed farming to better understand the wide-ranging issue of livestock-based asset accumulation which is crucial for the crop-livestock integration. Finally, I discuss the implications for the government’s continued efforts to transform agriculture and rural livelihoods through mixed farming and possible ways to assist many farmers who lack the resources required for intensification through integrated crop-livestock production.


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  • eng


University of Sussex

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