Rwandan farmers should practice environmentally-friendly agriculture if the country is to cope with climate changes, government officials said yesterday.
The remarks were in response to the State of Environment and Outlook Report 2015, released yesterday in Kigali on the occasion to mark the World Environment Day, which falls on Sunday June 5.
The report indicates that Rwanda is highly vulnerable to the impact of temperature and rainfall changes due to climate change since it relies heavily on rain-fed agriculture for subsistence livelihoods and tea and coffee.
The survey was conducted by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).
It calls for climate resilient practices for the country to cope with climate change.
It says agriculture contributes most to greenhouse gas emissions emitting about 65 per cent of non-land use, land use change and forestry emissions mainly because of carbon released from cultivating soils.
Speaking at the report launch, Coletha Ruhamya, acting director general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said programmes aimed to boost agriculture productivity should be environmentally friendly.
She said, “We should look at how climate change affects agriculture but also how agriculture contributes to climate change. All of those climate change related effects witnessed have an impact on agriculture but we need to know that agriculture is also a contributing factor. We need to increase production but also sustain our environment so that we can cope with climate change.”
“For instance, the government spends a lot of money on irrigation schemes, but we should assess how efficiently we are using the water, how efficiently we are using fertilisers to ensure we use them in a way that does not hurt other elements within our ecosystem.”
According to the report, Rwanda has one of the world’s lowest per capita green gas house emissions estimated at 0.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person compared to the global average of 6.7 per person.
Apart from agriculture that emits the largest proportion of Rwanda’s green house gas emissions, other sectors that contribute more to emissions include the energy sector that is dominated by methane and nitrous oxide emissions from biomass combustion, accounting for 23 per cent of emissions.
The Rwanda Focus