Rwanda has today received about Rwf3.5 billion (3 382 000 Euros) grant, from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) for improving wood lot management, charcoal production and tree seeds quality.
The grant will used for implementing a project on “Improving the Efficiency and Sustainability of Charcoal and Wood fuel Value Chains” in North-Western Rwanda.
The NDF grant, which will be managed by the World Bank, will benefit the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project implemented by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).
Some of the key activities that will be financed under the grant agreement include; improved wood lot management, improved tree seeds quality, efficient charcoal production and promotion of alternative sources of energy.
The woodlot management part of the project- to be complete in December 2019- will encompass forests in Gishwati-Mukura landscape.
Building upon existing plans and training, the NDF-funded activities will initiate local-level planning of existing woodlots to improve management and increase productivity.
The project components also include strengthening cooperatives to improve charcoal production techniques as well as the value, quality and marketing of the charcoal produced.
Additionally, NDF will support the National Seed Centre in order to improve and diversify the tree seed pool.
The final part of the project will target commercial tea factories’ wood consumption and households’ cooking needs through analysis and promotion of sustainable alternatives.
“We are very grateful for the continued trust and support from our partners. This kind of strong multilateral collaboration is enabling us to achieve our agenda of a better and properly managed environment,”said Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of REMA.
Eng. Ruhamya added that, “This grant will allow us to contribute more to increasing forest cover, improving wood fuel value chains, improving the quality of our tree seeds, creating jobs, increasing our country’s resilience to climate change and improving socio-economic welfare.”
According to the 2012 study by the World Bank, “Biomass is the most important source of energy in Rwanda, especially for domestic cooking. Today, approximately 86 percent of primary energy comes from biomass, mainly in the form of wood that is either used directly as a fuel (57 percent), or converted into charcoal (23 percent) together with smaller amounts of crop residues, and peat (6 percent).”
“In the past,” as reads the extract in the study, “the production of charcoal in Rwanda was one of the factors that contributed to deforestation.”
It adds that, “Nowadays, due to massive reforestation in the country, Rwanda may well be among the few African countries where the relation between charcoal and deforestation no longer exists.
The economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS) is the medium term programmatic framework for achieving the country’s long term development aspirations as embodied in Rwanda vision 2020, as well as the intermediate targets in the 2015 millennium development goals (MDGs).”
The World Bank highlights that forests area occupied 12.9% of Rwanda’s land in 1990 and it had grown to 19.5% in 2015.