The agricultural sector is the main driver of the Rwandan economy, contributing 36% to the GDP and generating nearly 71% of foreign exchange earnings. In addition, the sector employs almost 90% of the country population. However, is facing a set of challenges that include: serious soil health problems such as soil acidity, low farm yields, poor access to improved yields and lack of coordination among the various actors working on soil health issues in the country. Paramount too is the need to generate and disseminate appropriate integrated soil fertility management technologies (ISFM) that meet farmer and private sector expectations, increase agricultural productivity, ensure environmental sustainability and improve food security and incomes of farming household in the country. Several institutions play a role in sustainable land use management at both the national and local levels. The organizations intervene in different soil health aspects including: soil conservation, fertility management, water management, seed quality, crop management, knowledge development and dissemination. However, the weak linkages and inadequate information sharing between soil health actors has led to the poor coordination and duplication of projects, leading to wasteful use of resources and limited impacts on farm productivity.
The Rwanda Soil Health Consortium project was established in 2013 through a grant from AGRA with the aim of building a national soil health consortium for improved farm productivity, natural resource management and poverty reduction among resource-poor small-scale farmers through scaling up of harmonized ISFM innovations. The overall objective is to improve the coordination and effectiveness of efforts to develop and disseminate site–specific ISFM technologies to improve crop productivity and reduce poverty among small-scale farmers. The specific objective are to: Improve access to ISFM information by key stakeholders (policy makers, extension staff, and inputs providers), enhance capacity in harmonizing and consolidating ISM innovations and, enhance dissemination of ISFM innovations by developing effective target specific knowledge products.