Agriculture and food in Rwanda

Rwanda agriculture statistics

Number of agricultural advertisements in Rwanda:1 ads
Number of agricultural events in Rwanda:0 events
Number of agricultural companies in Rwanda:28 companies

Rwanda agriculture, farming and food

Agriculture in Rwanda

Rwanda is a small landlocked country in east-central Africa. With a population of over 13 million has one of the highest population densities in sub-Saharan Africa. It has boarders with four countries: Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (clockwise from the north). Water covers 1,390 sq km of the country; the largest lakes include Bulera, Ihema, Kivu (straddling the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo), Mugesera and Muhazi, and there are many rivers. The country comprises five provinces. Rwanda has a mild tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries because of its high elevation. Kigali, in the centre of the country, has a daily temperature range of between 12 and 27°C with little variation throughout the year. As for the relationship between the altitude and agriculture, the most suitable zone for agricultural production is situated between 1,500 meters and 1,700 meters. The climate there is the most suitable for many plants: banana, haricot, sweet potato, soybean, avocado, coffee, tobacco, etc. Sugar cane and paddy are fitting for the zone under 1,400 meters, where rainfall and rich soil are often in short. As for plants such as maize, Irish potato, green peas and wheat, all are suited to the highlands at more than 2,000 meters. Rwanda has sufficient water. There are two rainy seasons: the first runs from February to June and the second from September to December. These are separated by two dry seasons: the major one from June to September, during which there is often no rain at all, and a shorter and less severe dry season from December to February. Rainfall varies geographically, with the west and northwest of the country receiving more annual rainfall than the east and southeast. The best soils, formed from volcanic lavas and alluvium, are found, respectively, in the northwest and along the lower portions of the larger river valleys. Elsewhere the largely metamorphic bedrock has produced soils of generally poor quality. The combination of steep slopes, abundant rainfall, deforestation, and intensive farming has set in motion a process of extreme soil erosion that requires a burdensome investment of time and energy to curtail.

Agriculture currently provides employment to up to 80 to 90% of the population. Farming with food crops for cash as well as own consumption is dominant, with average holdings of around 0.5h (divided in different smaller plots). The Rwandan economy is primarily based on rain-fedagriculture, with coffee and tea as the major cash crops. Rwanda has a fertile ecosystem, but food production is currently not sufficient to meet demand, meaning that Rwanda is also partly dependent on imports. A major constraint is the limited land available for cultivation. Rwanda comprises about 2.6m ha with a potentially cultivable area of around 1.4m ha (World Bank, 2015).

Coffee and tea

Coffee and Tea have historically been the major sources of export earnings and they still currently own the largest share in the country’s export revenues. During 2020 A&B Seasons, 1,934,488 coffee seedlings were planted on 774 ha and 7,497 MT of fertilizer were applied. Currently the total area under coffee plantation stands at 39,884 ha. In 2020, 19,723 MT of coffee have been exported and generated 60.4 Million USD. Unlike the coffee marketing system, Rwanda’s tea marketing system continues to be dominated by state- owned companies. In contrast to coffee, which is grown by a large number of small-scale private growers, tea is cultivated mainly on large plantations, which are owned and managed by about a dozen tea “factories” that process green tea into black tea. The factories supplement the tea cultivated on their own land with relatively small amounts of tea produced by tea cooperatives and private growers. In fiscal year 2019-2020, 96% of the total Rwanda tea export went to 13 countries. Pakistan, UK and Kazakhstan had the highest percentage of tea export of 49%, 15% and 7% respectively. Among other potential buyers included Sudan, Egypt and Ireland which accounted for 5%, 4% and 4% respectively.

Main crops

Banana makes up the largest share in food crops. In many cases, these bananas are used to brew beer. Banana beer has important significance in Rwandan society: people often use it in ceremonies and for exchange. There are many food crops used for the staple diet besides banana: haricot, sorghum, and root crops such as sweet potato, Irish potato and cassava are the other main staples. Different from some Central African regions depending heavily on cassava, and East and Southern African regions depending on maize, Rwanda has various staple diets composed of banana, root crops, cereal crops and beans. Maize possesses the advantage of being grown in all agro-ecological zones of the country, with a higher potential in the former provinces of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi and in developed marshlands. Given the recent strong upsurge in world maize prices, it is likely that the competitive position of domestic producers vis-à-vis imports will have increased. The crop has a generally good potential for increased yields and returns with fertiliser application, especially in the Impala zone and the highlands of Budaha-Ndiza-Buberuka. Rice is a cereal with growing importance in Rwanda. Rice production is carried out in the rice schemes in the former provinces of Cyangugu, Butare, Gitarama, Kigali-Ngali, Umutara and Kibungo.

Horticulture and floriculture

The total area for fruit production is 45,500ha. Main crops are avocado, pineapple and mango. They are often produced in the warm and humid central-south. According to the FAO figures, the yields of avocado and mangoes are below the regional average. However pineapple yield is 3.5 times higher. For vegetable production FAO indicates 95,000ha, with a total production volume of 678,000 tonnes. Main crops are pumpkin, squash and gourds, leeks, tomato and onions. Yields of various crops like tomatoes are far below the regions frontrunners. South Africa for example produces 4.5 times more tomatoes per ha than Rwanda does. Also Kenya produces 25% more tomatoes per hectare.

Current flower production in Rwanda is limited to small number of producers. They produce on small scale and serve mainly the domestic market. Beekeeping in Rwanda has been practiced for many years through successive generations and along inherited patterns. Beekeeping has basically been of a subsistence nature, where honey was used as a food product for home, medicine and for brewing traditional liquor. Nowadays beekeeping has become an important component with the growing export and local market. Rwanda produces mostly honey, beeswax and propolis. In 2020 vegetables generated $ 17.15 M in foreign exchange revenues while fruits generated $ 7.5 M and flowers $ 4.02 M. Among the horticulture exports included Onions, Fresh beans, Fresh Peas, Tomato, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, Eggplants, French bean, Pepper, Mushrooms, Chili, Snow peas, Flowers, Broccoli, Macadamia, Avocado and Passion fruits.


In addition to crops, livestock is another important source of income and food for agricultural households. Livestock contributes 4% of GDP (2021). Rwanda is currently recording unprecedented increased growth in livestock production due to various policy interventions including. The national herd, consisting at present (in 2016/17) in about 1.39 million cattle, 700 thousand sheep, 2.94 million goats, 1.8 million pigs and about 7 million layers, broilers and indigenous chicken, produces currently about 94.2 thousand Metric Tons (MT) of meat, 747 thousand MT of milk, and 243 million eggs per year. In addition the herd provides about 6.8 million MT of organic fertilizer. In 2020 cattle contributed significantly to meat production with 34 % of share while poultry and pigs contributes 22 % and 14 %, respectively. Poultry, mainly chickens, are raised by the majority of rural households as a source of eggs and meat for home consumption and occasionally also as a minor source of supplemental income. Large-scale commercial poultry operations that use improved breeds and have recently started to appear in urban areas, especially in and around Kigali.


Rwanda has a high diversity of species in its natural forests or woodlands. Due to climate change and human activities some of them are disappearing. The remaining natural forests need restoration after extensive deforestation and degradation. Today, Rwanda has about 704,997 hectares of land with forest and shrubland cover, equivalent to 29.6% of the country, of which 17.7% are plantation forests and 11.9% are natural mountain forests and Savannah shrubland protected in national parks, including Nyungwe forest in south-west, Gishwati & Mukura forests in central-west, Volcanoes forest in north and Akagera savannah shrub in east. Rwanda’s forests contribute greatly to the national economy. In the fiscal year 2016/17, the contribution of forestry to the GDP was estimated to be US$365 billion (i.e. 5% of the total GDP). For Woodlands, Eucalyptus sp. is the dominant species making up more than 90 % of all plantations in the country, and it continues to dominate the landscape in plantations and woodlots. They are grown mainly in farm woodlots or on boundaries and environments ranging from semi-arid (e.g. suitable for Eucalyptus camaldulensis) to sub-humid (e.g. suitable for E. globulus). Pinus plantations count for approximately 6 percent of the plantations making it the second most significant exotic plantation species in the country. Agroforestry is not well developed, which explains lack of firewood and the consequent practice of people using farm residues in the home.


In Rwanda, fishing is essentially traditional and artisanal. It is mostly practiced on Lake Kivu, where it targets the small pelagic sardine Limnothrissa miodon, locally known as Isambaza. Traditional fishing is practiced in the rest of the country’s lakes. According to FAO(2017) total fishery and aquaculture production reached about 28 300 tonnes, with capture fisheries at 25 000 tonnes. Lake Tanganyika sardine (Limnothrissa miodon) represents the species most caught. In 2017, an estimated 7 497 people were employed in inland fishing with 1 218 boats under 12 meters length overall being estimated. Aquaculture, which is limited to finfish farming and was introduced in the early 1950s, is largely undeveloped. It produced less than 100 tonnes annually until 2010. Production increased since then, reaching an estimated 3 300 tonnes in 2017, thanks to improved technology, including supply of tilapia fingerlings and the introduction of tilapia aquaculture in cages in lakes Kivu, Burera and Ruhondo, through the PAIGELAC project. The apparent fish consumption was 7.7 kg per person/year in 2016. The country depends on imports to meet local fish demand. In 2017, imports of fish and fishery products were estimated at USD 30.7 million, while exports at USD 2.7 million.

Agricultural markets Rwanda

Kibungo Market

Kimironko Market

Kirambo Market

Muhanga Market

Musanze Market

Shyorongi Market

Agricultural and food classified in Rwanda

Agricultural advertisements in Rwanda, buy and sell classified ads. Agricultural products in Rwanda, buyers, sellers, importers and exporters: fruits, vegetables, fishes, herbs, aquaculture, spices, grains and cereals, flowers, plants, meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, processed food, farm land for sale and more.

Agricultural companies in Rwanda

Rwanda: agricultural machinery companies, food producer, farms, investment companies, agribusiness companies, rural services, agri commodities.


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