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 enough food and good nutrition for all. Since its founding in 1945, FAO has been the lead agency for interventions in agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries and rural development. FAO has 191 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 a fully fledged Representation in 1985. Over the 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. FAO Rwanda has participated in projects and activities that support the promotion of sustainable growth in the country’s post war redevelopment efforts, as well as the increased social protections of women, children and other underserved populations.  These efforts include activities that address trans-boundary disease surveillance, food security, seed production, urban gardening and the support of agribusiness.  Emergency relief and rehabilitation, capacity building, technical assistance, and policy support have also been a part of FAO’s legacy in Rwanda.  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.  

By 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 one UN pillars’ comprising : One Programme, One Budgetary Framework, One Leader and One Office. Forming the basis of the joint programming is the UN Development Assistance Planning (UNDAP) for 2013-2018. The UNDAP and the One Programme is fully aligned with the national priorities as defined in Vision 2020 and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (EDPRS II). 

The Country Programming Framework Rwanda 2013-2018 (CPF) states the priorities guiding the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) collaboration with the Government of Rwanda (GoR) based on identified gaps and comparative advantages in the areas of agriculture, food and nutrition security, fisheries, and forestry.  The CPF is aligned to other  government strategic documents such as VISION 2020; EDPRSS (2008-2012), I think it should be EDPRS II (2013-2018) National Agricultural Policy (NAP), PSTA II (Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture), and the United Nations Assistance Development Planning/Country Operations Document (UNDAF/COD).   

This document provides an analysis of the challenges in the agriculture, fishery, and forestry sectors, and the GoR’s response to these areas.  It emphasizes FAO’s priority intervention areas for the next five years based on GoR priority needs and FAO’s comparative advantages.  The CPF remains a working document and will be revised periodically in response to changing priorities and challenges in the Rwandan agricultural sector. 

FAO’s priorities in Rwanda, outlined in the CPF, include: 

A. Improved food security and human nutrition;

B. Agriculture and livestock productivity through sustainable natural resource management adapted to climate changes;

C. Value chain development and private sector investment as a basis for boosting commercialized agricultural development;

D. Institutional collaboration and knowledge sharing in addressing agricultural development, food security and poverty actions.


FAO’s Comparative Advantage 

FAO’s comparative advantage is derived from the organization’s mandate, its position, and capacity to actively participate in supporting the GoR in pursuing its development agenda. FAO strives to align its strategic objectives with the national development plan through the commitments to support the priority strategic objectives set by the key sectors.

The FAO mandate is underpinned by FAO’s five Strategic Objectives:

(i) Contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition;

(ii) Increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner;

(iii) Reduce rural poverty;

(iv) Enable more inclusive and efficient food and agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels, and;

(v) Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.

In Rwanda, FAO is mainly engaged in agriculture, food security and nutrition, and natural resources management (land, forestry and environment). FAO has also provided support for the implementation of various projects and programmes, both through collaborative efforts with other UN agencies under “One UN” and multilateral agencies, or as “stand-alone.” 

Agricultural experts, policy-makers, NGOs, and farmer organizations look to FAO for expertise and knowledge on agriculture, food security, and environmental management.  As a neutral meeting point, FAO provides the stage for building common understanding between stakeholders.