Climate Risk Management for Local Agricultural Cooperatives in Rwanda

With its National Cooperatives Promotion Policy, the Government of Rwanda is encouraging community self-development through cooperatives.

Like any venture, local cooperatives should develop business plans, detailed action programs or roadmaps specifying their objectives, products, target markets and capital requirements. In Rwanda, where most agriculture is rain-fed, climate risks are one of the key factors that influence the competitiveness of local agricultural cooperatives. Therefore, climate risk management should be a key component of these local cooperatives’ business plans.

Through this project, IISD and partners at Adventist Development and Relief Agency developed a training-of-trainers manual to help local agricultural cooperative members identify the main climate risks that can hamper their cooperative’s performance, and to come up with solutions to minimize and, if possible, take advantage of these risks. The project also included a piloting of the training with the Maisha Bora cooperative in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. The manual takes a value-chain approach, helping users to analyze the links between climate hazards and agricultural production from production to marketing and consumption. Instructions for data collection and analysis are organized using to a 10-step process, divided into three stages that aim to:

  1. Understand the business context: The "what," "where" and "when" of the selected agricultural value chain.
  2. Understand the climate context: The location, frequency and intensity of climate hazards, currently and in the future, in the context of climate change in the area where the cooperative operates.
  3. Evaluate the implications of different climate hazards for the cooperative: The impacts of climate hazards on each stage of the selected value chain and the current and alternative responses to support climate adaptation.

Users can take this information to formulate a set of recommendations for integrating climate considerations into a selected value chain. These recommendations can be agreed to among the participating members of the cooperative and integrated into the cooperative’s business plan. The resulting training-of-trainers manual, available in both English and in French, primarily targets non-governmental agency staff and local government officials working with agricultural cooperatives in Rwanda, but it can also be used in other contexts where farmers’ associations and local cooperatives are involved in adding value to agricultural products. The approach supports a more integrated and business-oriented approach to climate risk management. In particular, it can contribute to increasing attention to postharvest agriculture. This work is one of a larger group of IISD projects focusing on climate change adaptation along agricultural value chains, including:

Project details