Overview Objectives

This project aims to enhance food security for poor rural people in Eastern Africa. Its research underpins national programmes to use more trees in Ethiopian and Rwandan farms. Uganda and Burundi will then be able to use the results in relevant agro-ecological zones.

Millions of smallholder farmers in eastern Africa are poor, hungry, and vulnerable to climate change. The region has four out of the nine hunger hotspots in Africa. Crop productivity is declining because of infertile soil, and most options to improve productivity are too expensive for farmers.

Governments in the region are interested in methods for raising land productivity that farmers can afford, and have requested support from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to help Ethiopian, Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian farmers adopt trees. This involves understanding and addressing barriers to farmers enhancing tree cover on their farms; matching species and management options to sites and farmer circumstances; and quantifying how changing tree cover affects water, soil and livelihoods.

Trees efficiently use water and nutrients while maintaining soil carbon on fields, farms and other landscapes. Trees are the basis for a climate smart agriculture. They intensify and diversify farm production, in a manner that increases agricultural productivity, additional income opportunities from tree products, and improves environmental outcomes that sustain productivity gains.

The project expects to improve rural people’s smallholder farming systems through enhancing tree cover. This will reduce acute food security problems.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Good progress has been made during the first year of the ‘trees for food security’ project considering that the project implementation started late in August after the inception meetings although the grant agreement was approved and signed in June 26th 2012. The project was launched at two separate inception workshops in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and Kigali Rwanda on 6-7 and 9-10 August 2012, respectively. The workshops were attended by ACIAR Forestry Research Program Manager and researchers from ICRAF, CIMMYT, CSIRO and World Vision in both countries. Government and collaborating institutions from Ethiopia attended the Addis Ababa workshop while their counterparts from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi attended in Kigali. Key outcome of the workshop included a renewed commitment from the Ethiopian and Rwandan governments and a refined understanding by the project partners of their roles in the project.

Sub-contract agreements for CIMMYT, CSIRO, EIAR World vision (Rwanda and Ethiopia) RAB and EIAR have been signed and funds transfer effected. The processing of ILRI’s subcontract will be done in June as most of their research activities commences in the second year.

Progress has been made in achieving the milestones for all the five work packages in the project despite some delays in some activities which were occasioned by the project starting late in August as opposed to July. Under work package 1 the baseline and extension design workshop was held in August 28-29, 2012 at ICRAF, Nairobi. It was agreed that a nested approach would be taken for the baseline survey and details are provided in milestone table below (1.1) and workshop report. The household baseline survey commenced in October 2012 for Ethiopia and in mid-January 2013 for Rwanda and was completed by December and early March respectively. Simultaneously, the household baseline data was being entered and cleaned with the Ethiopian data available for initial analysis by mid-April and that of Rwanda by late May 2013. The land health survey, market, extension system surveys were implemented in Ethiopia at relevant scales in January-March 2013, and planning is in good progress for Rwanda by mid May 2013. The sampling list along with logistics for tree inventory survey is complete and the team is ready for implementation.

The participatory trials and modelling work under work package 2 started with a workshop in Addis Ababa from 2nd to 5th October 2012. Good agreement was reached on a strategy for further activities (see workshop report) and a modelling strategy report prepared by CSIRO is under review by all the concerned partners. The local knowledge training workshop took place in Ethiopia on 3-15 February 2013. It involved students from Bangor, participants from Rwanda and Ethiopia and one staff from ICRAF HQs. Researchers from ICRAF, Rwanda and Ethiopia and two master’s students from Bangor collected local knowledge data for the two countries between March and May 2013. Preliminary analysis was carried out early May and detailed analysis is ongoing. A workshop on participatory trial design was held in Adama, Ethiopia in April 2013. Several trials were designed and implementation will take place in June 2013 in Ethiopia. Planning for these trials is currently ongoing. Similar training planned in Rwanda in May 2013 was postponed due to illness of the instructors. It has however been tentatively planned for August/early September to enable implementation before the short rains. Nevertheless establishment of long term experimental trial in both countries is in place as land availed by RAB and EIAR respectively has been prepared for the test crop. CIMMYT developed and circulated protocols for sampling and measurements schedules to study impact of trees on N and P balance and on microclimate and for G-E-M interactions with respect to heat stress and water use efficiency. ICRAF will work closely with CIMMYT in these trials to monitor aspects on sap flow, dendrometers and gaseous exchange so as to maximise on data collected in these experiments.

Under work package 3 on developing effective methods and enabling environments for scaling up and out adoption of trees on farms, design tools for extension systems surveys were derived from the baseline and extension design workshop held in August 2013. A key informant’s survey to identify existing extension systems, their strengths and weaknesses in Ethiopia was undertaken in January-February 2013. The report is being finalized and will be ready by June 2013. The key informant interviews in Rwanda will be undertaken in June 2013. . A Rapid Market Appraisal (RMA) was undertaken in January 2013 in Ethiopia to identify bottlenecks and market opportunities in the agroforestry products’ value chain that require interventions to enhance adoption. The report is being finalized and will be ready by June 2013. The RMA for Rwanda will be undertaken in June 2013. A questionnaire for the seed/seedlings survey of key informants was administered in Rwanda in April and May 2013 while survey in Ethiopia has been designed to coincide with the operations of nurseries in Ethiopia which will be in June 2013. A stakeholder workshop in seed/seedlings systems will be held in November 2013 in Ethiopia and Rwanda

The monitoring and evaluation workshop was originally slated to be held at the end of February 2013, but due to various constraints, a more devolved approach was used. In consultation with various work package leaders and partners, the M&E team developed a set of draft performance indicators for each work package, including outcome indicators. These draft indicators were then sent back to the work packages and partners for comments and changes. In addition to the performance indicators, an overall M&E strategy / plan was developed and circulated for comments from the work packages, partners and ACIAR. A revised final draft of the M&E strategy is projected to be ready by the end of June. The M&E plan will consist of data collection cycles, reporting mechanisms, and will provide the guide for future outcome and impact monitoring. In addition, key evaluation questions have been identified for further investigation by the project team and external evaluators.
Capacity strengthening was embedded in all these activities. Capacity strengthening of researchers from educational institutions, research institution, farmers and extension workers was strengthened through the baseline survey enumerators training (14 in Ethiopia and 14 in Rwanda), modelling, participatory trials and design workshops (27) as well as the local knowledge training (14). Another 30 participants are expected to be trained during the participatory trials design workshop in Rwanda which is scheduled to take place soon. Assessment of government policies in agroforestry and institutional arrangements will be done in July - September 2013 in both countries under the lead of country project coordinator with technical support from ICRAF capacity development unit.

Overall the progress of the project this second year has been good and the initial time lost is quickly being recovered. Some activities are behind schedule (by about 3 months), some are on schedule. Activities in Burundi and Uganda are ahead of schedule. Meetings have been held in Uganda, with Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), and Burundi, with the Agricultural Research Institute of Burundi (ISABU), to discuss project implementation. Possible project sites and collaborating partners were discussed and project coordinators identified, as Hilary Agaba in Uganda and Claudette Nkurunziza in Burundi. Work on local knowledge, training on participatory trials and market surveys is in progress in Uganda while in Burundi work on the country’s vegetation map and studies on nurseries are ongoing. The inception workshop for the TFS project in Uganda was held on 12/5/2014 and followed by a steering committee meeting at Mbare.

Work package 1
By Y2 M12, all the activities for WP1.1 (socio-economic and biophysical baseline) were implemented and most analyses were underway, while some were completed to guide WP 1.2 (spatially explicit guidelines) as well as WP1.3 (national dialogues and prioritization frameworks). The tree inventory and tree nursery surveys are completed in Ethiopia and Rwanda. The land health survey has been completed. Preliminary results on on-farm tree species diversity, tree density, and root depth restriction and erosion prevalence are available for Ethiopia. Soil analysis for Carbon, Nitrogen and texture has also been done for samples from Ethiopia, while those from Rwanda are currently being analysed.

Work package 2
Work on Objective 2.1 began with workshops in Adama, Ethiopia (April 2013) and Musanze, Rwanda (October 2013). Participatory trials have been implemented with 148 farmers in Ethiopia and 343 in Rwanda. In Ethiopia, trials focused on means to improve seedling survival and growth and on the establishment of selected fruit trees and agroforestry species like Faidherbia albida, Mangifera indica and Persea americana. In Rwanda, the trials focussed on enhancement of soil fertility, diversification of trees in agroforestry systems and identification of alternatives for climbing bean stakes.
Under Objective 2.2, land for long-term trials has been provided by RAB in Rwanda (Gishwati and Bugesera) and EIAR and OARI in Ethiopia (Melkassa and Bako). All treatments have been established in both countries. Initial data on seedling survival rates and soil conditions have been collected. CIMMYT has been collecting data on the impact of trees on tree-crop interaction in the four sites. ICRAF is working with CIMMYT in these trials to monitor aspects of sap flow, soil moisture, growth rings and chlorophyll contents so as to maximise on data collected in these experiments. CSIRO has commenced coding of the APSIM agroforestry module. Progress on this has been slowed by the prospect of a new APSIM version, which will be available later in 2014.
Under Objective 2.3, progress has been made on understanding farmers’ decision-making processes using results of the baseline surveys, which have been analysed and processed into a comprehensive database.

Work package 3
Design tools for extension system surveys were derived from the baseline and an extension design workshop. The reports identifying existing extension systems, their strengths and weaknesses were completed in October 2013 for Rwanda and December 2013 for Ethiopia. Rapid Market Appraisals was undertaken to identify bottlenecks and market opportunities for agroforestry products. Reports for both Ethiopia and Rwanda have been finalised and posted at the website. Seed/seedling systems surveys were conducted in Rwanda in May 2013 and Ethiopia in July 2013, with the report completed in November 2013. Tools for policy dialogues to encourage adoption of trees on farms have been developed. The dialogues at the district level have been conducted in Ethiopia and Rwanda and draft reports prepared. The national policy dialogues in Ethiopia and Rwanda will occur in June 2014.

Work package 4
A revised final draft of the M&E strategy was finalised in November 2013. Key evaluation questions have been identified for use by the project team and external evaluators. In March and April, a series of meetings were held in Ethiopia and Rwanda to discuss the indicators and evaluation questions, allocation of responsibilities, and reporting timelines.

Work package 5
Capacity needs assessment of governmental structures and extension agencies, as well as NGOs and CBOs engaged in agricultural extension was carried out in August 2013 in Rwanda involving participants from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia. A consultancy has been completed for Ethiopia to assess the synergies and tensions in agricultural, environmental, and rural development policies as a basis for engaging in a policy dialogue with the government. A similar consultancy has been commissioned for Rwanda. These inputs will lead to recommendations on how to align sectoral policies to enhance the role of trees in food security in these countries.

Major events that occurred this year included the mid-term review and Burundi project inception in November 2014 and the opening of the the Rural Resource Centre in Ziway Ethiopia in March by the Australian Ambassador in Ethiopia, HE Mark Sawers. Follow up actions from the mid-term review include: establishment of the rural resource center at Mbale, Uganda; scaling out activities in Tigray, Ethiopia; development of a data ownership and use agreement; preparation for rain water harvesting training in Ethiopia and appointment of a new project coordinator in Rwanda.

Work package 1
The reporting of baseline studies in Rwanda is nearing completion. A publication on the Ethiopia data was submitted to Agroforestry Systems. For Uganda, some information on characterization and targeting has been drawn from existing projects, while primary data collection is needed in Burundi. The implementation of socio-economic baseline survey in Burundi has been delayed due to recent political disturbances. Key informant surveys on extension system in Uganda and Burundi were conducted in March 2015. In Uganda, NaFFORI staff undertook the survey while in Burundi the survey in Kayanza province was conducted by ICRAF. Reports for these studies are under development. Smallholder farmer surveys were conducted in Rwegura and Ruvumu in Burundi. The study sought to understand how and why farmers use and manage trees, the species being planted and niches of these trees as well as farmers’ knowledge on factors affecting food security. This knowledge will be useful in designing area specific interventions. In Burundi a master’s student has conducted the tree nursery study, while the interactive vegetation and species selection map for Burundi has now been completed.

Work package 2
Data collection from participatory trials is ongoing In Ethiopia and Rwanda and more trials will be established in the next rainy season. In Uganda, over 200 farmers are participating in the trials. The lowland areas focus on river bank stabilisation, the midland covers tree species diversity while the upland areas are looking at measures to control soil erosion. Data collection and analysis in long-term trials established in Rwanda and Ethiopia is also continuing. A manuscript on modelling challenges in agroforestry was submitted to Agricultural Systems. Data collection from experiments on G-E-M interactions and tree-crop water interactions are progressing well. These will help understand tree crop interactions, inform management and provide insights on the appropriate varieties for intercropping with these trees. CSIRO has commenced coding of the APSIM agroforestry module using the new APSIM version and some basic functionality for modeling has been implemented. A capacity-strengthening course on the use of the APSIM framework was held in Rwanda. Socio-economic survey on farmer’s perceptions about the performance of the participatory trials was undertaken in Rwanda and Ethiopia in October and November 2015. Draft reports are under review.

Work package 3
National stakeholder workshops on seed/seedling systems were held in July 2014 in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Reports have been uploaded to the ICRAF website. Surveys of nurseries in Ethiopia and Rwanda have been completed and data has been analyzed. The Ethiopia report is complete and the Rwanda report is undergoing review. National policy dialogues workshops were conducted in July 2014 with reports uploaded to the ICRAF website. Establishment of 2 Rural Resource Centers in Rwanda is complete, while in Ethiopia the center at Ziway was officially opened on 31st March 2015. Key informant surveys on extension system in Uganda and Burundi were conducted in March 2015, to establish area-specific extension methods as well as the institutional environment required to overcome barriers to adoption of agroforestry practices.

Work package 4
The mid-term review elicited the need for the project team to ensure that it was gathering sufficient information to adequately document the economic, social and policy impacts arising from the project activities. A rigorous process for data collection in all the work components has been initiated. The tools to be used have been matched with the different site contexts in Rwanda and Ethiopia and a process for collecting data and general communication was agreed at site level M&E workshops. In Uganda and Burundi, main activities focused on identifying baseline scaling out indicators for the monitoring process. Workshops will be undertaken in both Ethiopia and Rwanda to aggregate the data gathered for preparation of the communication products.

Work package 5
Capacity strengthening was embedded in all the other work package. The report on Rwandan policy environment for agroforestry has been finalized. The final reports from Ethiopia and Rwanda have been summarized and transformed into policy brief drafts, which are under review by partner organizations in both countries.

The project registered remarkable progress between July 2015 and June 2016. Project implementation activities have been going on as planned in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. In Burundi the political unrest in 2015 disrupted implementation of key activities especially led by ICRAF but the situation has improved in 2016 and activities led by ISABU are ongoing.
A notable event was a very successful end-of-project review which took place on 15-24 April 2016. The review was carried out in Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda and Claudette Nkurunziza the Burundi Project Coordinator, travelled to Rwanda to participate in the review. The team comprised of Dr Ian Nuberg from University of Adelaide, Dr John Okorio from the MDG Centre and Prof Haile Mitiku, UNESCO Deputy Representative of Ethiopia, Australia. Also present were Tony Bartlett and Melissa Wood (ACIAR) and Catherine, Jeremias and Fergus (ICRAF). The team was hosted by the respective ICRAF country representatives (Kiros, Clement, and Athanase) and country project coordinators (Abayneh, Hillary and Tenge). Representatives from WV, CSIRO and CIMMYT attended the review in some of the countries. Overall, the review team was pleased by the high level of success the project had achieved, and the positive impacts that it had on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The reviewers also provided comments on Phase 2 project proposal that the team considered in developing the proposal.
The project has also enjoyed good relations and support from the Australian High Commission offices in Kenya; H.E John Feakes visited ICRAF on 11th November 2015 to learn more about ICRAF work, Australian support to ICRAF and the impact of this support. Another remarkable achievement was the approval by ACIAR of a second phase preliminary proposal of Au$ 5M (2017-2021). The full proposal has already undergone external review and is ready for submission for in-house review on 18 July 2016.
The project has reached 23228 people by mid April 2016 through scaling up activities like participatory trials and country specific strategies, Rural Resource Centres (RRCs), and trainings (Muthuri et al. 2015).
The achievements under each Work Package (Objective) are summarized below and further details are available on project webpage: http://www.worldagroforestry.org/project/trees-foo…
Work package 1: Various reports and journal articles are posted on project website. They include the release of a new smartphone application in the vegetationmap4africa (http://vegetationmap4africa.org/6_About.html#partners WFC. In Burundi report on the local knowledge study was completed (attached) and M.Sc. thesis on market survey (Abingoye, 2016) produced. Reports on extension systems and seed and seedling systems in Uganda (Buyinza, et al 2016) were finalized. A journal paper on Understanding patterns of tree adoption on farms in semi-arid and sub-humid Ethiopia (Iiyama et al., 2016) was published in Agroforestry Systems Iiyama et al. (2016). DOI 10.007/s10457-016-9926-y
Work package 2: Data collection on various participatory trials across the four countries is ongoing (reports attached). On-farm trials in Ethiopia and Rwanda have reported positive impact of trees and their management on water and crops (Asseffa et al. 2016, Baudron et al. 2016 and Ngoga et al. 2016). Seven researchers in Uganda were trained on Sap flow operation and installation. Biophysical trials on impact of crop genotype and tillage management on tree-crop interactions by CIMMYT have been undertaken (Baudron et al. 2016). An APSIM Agroforestry Systems Model was developed at CSIRO-ICRAF workshop in Australia and simulation on a few trees species and crops carried out (see pager attached). A journal paper reviewing agroforestry modeling was published (Luedeling et al. 2016). Construction of wells for individual farmers, installation of irrigation system at the RRC and long-term experiment were done in Ethiopia.
Work package 3: Market studies in Burundi have been carried out by a Burundi MSc student registered at JKUAT University. She is now finalizing her thesis. Different technologies have been adopted by farmers e.g. the use agroforestry stakes form Acacia agustissima for climbing beans in Rwanda, preferred for their durability and reuse across seasons. The RCC in Mbale is complete and operational (Uganda report). Data on tracking in the RRCs and participatory trials are ongoing.
Work package 4: The project M&E plan consisting of data collection cycles and reporting mechanisms is being implemented to provide guidance for future outcome and impact monitoring. This is well aligned with the AIFSRC M&E plan. Data hosting will be discussed with NaFFORI in the 2016.
Work package 5: Policy briefs for Rwanda and Ethiopia have already been produced and are to be interpreted into local languages for distribution to all stakeholders (attached). Eight PhD students currently attached to the project and 3 MSc students have successfully graduated (see thesis on project website).

Project ID
Project Country
Commissioned Organisation
World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya
Project Leader
Dr Catherine Muthuri
+254 20 722 4382
+254 20 722 4001
Collaborating Institutions
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Australia
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Ethiopia
Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Rwanda Agriculture Board, Rwanda
Agricultural Research Institute of Burundi, Burundi
National Agricultural Research Organisation, Uganda
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia
International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopia
World Vision Australia, Australia
Project Budget
Start Date
Finish Date
Extension Start Date
Extension Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Mr Tony Bartlett