The earth is warming and Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere. Human caused greenhouse gas emissions account for much of the problem and importantly from manure, there are short-lived climate pollutants like Carbon Dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous Oxide (N2O). However, Manure is not a waste, but manure mismanagement is waste and a waste of valuable resources.
From livestock dung and urine there are Carbon, Phosphorous, Potassium and Nitrogen. Integrated manure management always stipulates the respect steps such as manure collection, manure treatment, manure storage and manure application which are not respected by small scale farmers in Rwanda.
However, the lack of respecting the stated steps incurs the loss and some effects related to the short lived emissions. We can stipulates here the losses related to renewable energy, good quality organic fertilizers, losses related to finance as there will incur lack of assets, effects related to odor pollutants, etc.
As stated in our article http://english.bwiza.com/blog/2017/04/25/rwanda-why-to-strive-to-stay-below-1-5-degrees/; in October, before the Climate Change Conference (COP22), in Marrakesh, Morocco, Rwanda also joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).
Created in 2012, this is a voluntary international coalition of governments, international organizations, the private sector and non- governmental organizations that aims to reduce emissions of Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs).
The latter include black carbon, methane and hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) which are responsible for a substantial proportion of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere and, thus, warming; avoid millions of premature deaths; promote food and energy security; and address near-term climate change.
In Rwanda, agriculture contributes to 43% of GDP with livestock contributing at 8.8%. The current livestock population consists of 991.697 cattle, 371.766 sheep, 1.270.903 goats, 211.918 pigs, 498.401 rabbits and 482.124 chickens (MINAGRI, 2003). Girinka or the “one-cow per poor family” program is currently being promoted as a poverty reduction strategy in Rwanda.
One potential benefit of the program is the possibility to improve soil fertility through Cows rearing under zero-grazing in Byimana Sector /Ruhango District the collection and application of cow manure.
No research, however, has been conducted to date to assess the effectiveness of manure usage amongst the Girinka cow beneficiaries in the country. However, beneficiaries are not consistently using recommended manure management practices, sitting lack of manure handling and transporting tools, distance to fields, and poor construction of cow sheds (particularly the roofing) as key limiting factors.
Although the majority of beneficiaries are using manure on their fields, our data suggest that recommended management practices for collection, storage and application are not always being followed due to some noted technical difficulties like the lack of studies that have measured the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Girinka beneficiaries concerning manure usage and its effect on soil fertility and crop yields; fragile farmers’ organisations.
Farmers lack capacity
Donatile Mukandayisenga, president of a farmers’ cooperative in Muhanga District, Kiyumba Sector, Ruhina Cell who is aware of the dangerous lack left a suggestion on that. She said “it would be of great importance if the District and National authorities facilitated farmers in making an umbrella of manure management at the country level composed of NGOs, Private Sector, Farmers Organizations, Development partners and the manure management steering committee”. She went on saying that it should be useful in advocacy and capacity building for small scale farmers’ organizations”.
Though one meets a number of farmers associations in the rural areas, these are usually small local associations with low capacity, being in human and financial resources as well as organisational capacity and limited diversification of animal husbandry.
Measures have to be taken without delay. Though, there are green growth and climate resilience strategies, many aspects of short lived climate pollutants have to be considered like weak veterinary services delivery.
There are few cadres of service providers in the livestock industry in the country; poor investment in livestock industry. Livestock farming especially among pastoralists is usually done with minimum inputs and inaccessibility of credit to small-scale farmers. There is very limited access to credit in the rural areas where majority of farmers operate. This hinders the adoption of improved farming technologies by the farmers as they have no money to invest in inputs and this result in poor animal production.
RWANDA should enforce the manure management policies and consider a multi-stakeholder approach to portray implementation, extension and training and monitoring and evaluation of integrated manure management through some stakeholders like the Ministry of commerce and industry which should play the role of scale up efficient technology and application and NGOs and development partners which should play the role of advocacy, awareness, resource mobilization and constructive engagement.
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Bakundukize Pamphile (MSC)
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