Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL)
Additional partners: Kigali Institute of Technology; Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute.
The large-scale special initiative, “Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages” (PEARL), funded by USAID/Rwanda helped rebuild and bolster the applied research, teaching, and outreach capacity of agricultural institutions in Rwanda.
PEARL’s fully operational Outreach Center in Butare became a focal point for outreach activities with the surrounding farming communities. Its facilities include an Internet café, documentation center, a meeting pavilion, and demonstration plots. A staff of 20 included a center director, an administrator, three agronomists, a socio-economist, an accountant, an information specialist, and a communication officer.
The partnership trained over 2500 Rwandan women and over 3800 Rwandan men in areas including coffee, cassava flour, and chili pepper production and marketing, financial management, business management, business plan writing, and IT.
Through the Outreach Center, with its emphasis on income-generating activities, PEARL enjoyed particular success in the coffee sector. In cooperation with the Maraba Coffee Producer Association, PEARL sold 18 tons of bourbon coffee beans to Community Coffee of Louisiana, 19 tons to Union Roasters in London at a fair trade price, and an additional 15 tons to the local market by 2004.
Since PEARL’s inception, the partners constructed about 25 new coffee washing stations throughout the Maraba, Karaba, and Gashonga districts. The Maraba coffee growers received fair trade certification and began to harvest shade-grown coffee. Maraba specialty coffee became a model for the Rwandan coffee industry and has been replicated country-wide with strong support from the President.
PEARL also provided expertise in production of geranium oil, avocado oil, eucalyptus oil, cassava flour, and cassava starch and export. Sixteen Rwandan faculty and researchers from partner institutions (11 men, 5 women) completed their master’s of science degrees at MSU and TAMU and returned to Rwanda. Two faculty members had been accepted into doctoral programs at MSU in Agriculture Economics and Crop and Soil Sciences. NUR began implementing its new agriculture curriculum in 2003.
At a Glance
Michigan State University; Texas A&M University; National University of Rwanda
Sep 2000–May 2005
In Rwanda, some 90 percent of the country's eight million people are engaged in subsistence agriculture. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's economy and took a significant toll on Rwanda's agricultural universities. One crop in particular has aided Rwanda’s substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels — the coffee bean.