FAO in Rwanda

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialized agency whose goal is to build a world free of hunger, for present and future generations. 

Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, FAO has been the lead agency for interventions in agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries and rural development.  FAO has 187 Member Nations plus a member organization, the European Community.

FAO's activities comprise four main areas:

  •        Putting information within reach
  •        Sharing policy expertise
  •        Providing a meeting place for nations
  •        Bringing knowledge to the field


In Rwanda, FAO opened its Representation in 1985. Through these years, FAO has been working closely with the Government of Rwanda, other UN agencies, developing partners, NGO’s, civil society and local communities to enhance agricultural production and strive to ensure food security. The support from FAO has focused on: Emergency relief and rehabilitation, capacity building and technical assistance, food security and poverty alleviation, and policy support. Leading up to today, there are four distinct periods in the history of FAO in Rwanda.

  1. The first period 1985 to 1994, is characterized by large projects executed directly by the organization with substantial bi- and multilateral financial support, especially from UNDP.  
  2. The second period 1994 to 2000 followed the war and genocide. During this period, 32 projects were led by FAO in Rwanda as part of the agricultural emergency operations and rehabilitation of the agricultural sector.
  3. In the third period 2001 to 2006, FAO reduced the volume of its emergency and rehabilitation interventions and focused on strengthening the support to the Government in developing policies and strategies.
  4. The fourth period, from 2007 to today is dominated by the implementation of the One UN reform, in which FAO is an active partner, contributing to the common goals of the UN country team.

Upon the request by the Government, Rwanda was selected as one of the eight pilot countries for the One UN Reform in January 2007. The objective of the One UN is to improve the impact, coherence, efficiency and positioning of the UN System in Rwanda to better help the country meet the MDGs and guide the UN organizations towards the fulfillment of the Vision 2020.

Together with the other UN agencies, FAO is currently working closely and jointly to achieve the four ‘Ones’ comprising the One UN: One Programme, One Budgetary Framework, One Leader and One Office. Forming the basis of the joint programming is the UN Development Assistance Framework, UNDAF, for 2008-2012. The UNDAF and the One Programme is fully aligned with the national priorities as defined in Vision 2020 and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), and focuses on five strategic results: 1) Governance; 2) Health, HIV, Nutrition and Population; 3) Education; 4) Environment and 5) Sustainable Growth and Social Protection.


FAO Rwanda is assisting the Government through: 

Normative activities: Given its presence in a hundred developing countries and its deep knowledge of treaties, political and international regulatory frameworks, FAO can transfer good practices from one country to another and assist countries to better address cross-border problems and assist countries with new executives in line with international circumstances. Examples on such activities are support to the development of regulatory frameworks (food safety and seed sector), and production and dissemination of information and agricultural statistics.

Operational activities in the framework of One UN: The field technical interventions intended to benefit Rwanda's technical expertise accumulated in various fields related to agriculture, food security and natural resource management. FAO is currently participating broadly with operational activities in the following UNDAF results:

  • HIV/AIDS: Input supply and support to agricultural and nutritional education for people affected or infected by HIV/AIDS
  • Education: Support to school gardening
  • Environmental protection: Soil erosion control, Sustainable natural resource management; Wood and energy; Rain water harvesting.
  • Sustainable growth and social protection: Information and Early warning system; Animal and plant transboundary diseases; Seed production; Urban agriculture, Food security; and Agribusiness. 

Operational activities outside the framework of One UN: In addition to activities in the One UN, FAO has regional or national interventions financed by international donors and FAO bilaterally. These projects cover such aspects as prevention and fight against bird flu, the multiplication and distribution of healthy cassava cuttings, agribusiness and food security. Furthermore, the technical cooperation projects (TCP) are funded from internal resources of FAO upon the requests of the Government. This includes the proposed rationalization of wood energy, collection and use of rainwater for agricultural purposes and integrated pest management by the method of Farmer Field Schools (FFS).

In addition to this, many TeleFood projects are implemented in Rwanda in response to proposals submitted by farmer’s associations and communities, meeting the required conditions (poor families). Although small in scale and cost, TeleFood projects have been making large differences in the lives of small scale farming communities.

Emergency activities: FAO is assisting with distribution of seed and other inputs in response to natural catastrophes and other emergency situations.