Rwanda opens Tree Seed Centres to boost supply of high-quality seeds

  • New tree seed centres launch in Gatsibo and Huye districts
  • Forest conservation and agroforestry to benefit from higher quality seeds
  • Tree seed centres build on Rwanda’s reforestation efforts, with forests now covering 30.4% of the country

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) have today launched two Tree Seed Centres in Gatsibo and Huye districts to increase the availability of high-quality seeds.

The centres have been developed through the Improving Efficiency and Sustainability of Charcoal and Woodfuel Value Chains Project, which is funded by the Nordic Development Fund through the World Bank, and is being implemented by REMA, RFA and Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu and Ngororero districts.

This unique collaboration is promoting improved woodlot management, efficient charcoal production, alternative energy and, importantly, improved seed quality.

The Tree Seed Centres are a one-stop-shop for tree seed supply activities, such as establishing new seed sources, tree improvement, genetic conservation, as well as seed collection, processing and distribution.

The centres will build on Rwanda’s reforestation successes, which have resulted in the country achieving its goal of 30% forest coverage by 2020. Today, Rwanda has 30.4% forest coverage - equivalent to 724,695 hectares - and is also undertaking border-to-border landscape restoration under the Bonn Challenge.

“Although we have achieved this goal, we still need to increase forest cover to mitigate the impacts of climate change, promote healthy soils and rivers, and protect communities from landslides. To do so, we need high-quality seeds and the new tree seed centres we are launching today are a big part of the solution,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

The Tree Seed Centres will provide diverse, high-quality tree reproductive materials that are adapted to the country’s different agro-ecological regions. The aim is to enhance the economic and ecological functioning of forest and agroforestry plantations and increase forest cover and productivity.

“Forestry will continue to occupy an important strategic position in Rwanda, as a major contributor to livelihoods, a provider of critical ecosystem services and a driver of national socio-economic development,” said Jean Pierre Mugabo, Director General, Rwanda Forestry Authority.

“The new tree seed centres will support Rwanda to increase forest coverage and improve the quality of our forests, a win-win for people and biodiversity,” Mugabo added.

World Bank Country Manager in Rwanda, Rolande Pryce, was impressed by the project outcomes to date and pledged ongoing partnership for Rwanda’s restoration and conservation efforts.

“The World Bank is a long-term partner in this venture. The LAFREC and NDF projects are essentially two relatively small grants, but we have been able to make a significant amount of progress and have really substantial outcomes. In my view, it creates a platform for other things that we can do together,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Patrick Karera, said that the construction and rehabilitation of both Tree Seed Centres is part of Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation, which prioritises the good management of natural resources.

“Whatever we are doing is to make sure that we avail the seeds for our citizens and uplift our community and go higher with all the ambitions that we have. We appreciate the World Bank’s support for facilitating this NDF Project, and we look forward to continuous collaboration,” he said.

About the Improving Efficiency and Sustainability of Charcoal and Woodfuel Value Chains Project:

The Improving Efficiency and Sustainability of Charcoal and Woodfuel Value Chains Project is a three-year initiative implemented by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) with the support of the Nordic Development Fund through the World Bank. REMA implements the project in collaboration with the Rwanda Forestry Authority and Rutsiro, Rubavu, Nyabihu and Ngororero districts.

The project aims to improve the efficiency and sustainability of woodfuel value chains in the north west of Rwanda through improved woodlot management and seed quality, efficient charcoal production and the promotion of alternative energy sources.

The initiative has supported the creation of a Cookstove Testing Laboratory at the Rwanda Standards Board through a US $370,000 investment. The lab provides testing and certification for locally manufactured cookstoves, calculates emissions and offers other services related to renewable energy testing.

To date, the project has achieved the following results:

  • Maintenance of rehabilitated seed stands on 60.4 hectares at 17 sites countrywide
  • Established a 14 hectare tree seed stand in Karongi District (Gakuta)
  • Established a new 8 hectare seed stand in Nyagatare District (Kirebe)
  • Established cloning hedges on 0.5 hectare at the Arboretum in Huye District
  • More than 600 cooperative members from 19 cooperatives have been trained on efficient charcoal production and biomass processing and provided with equipment for green charcoal making.
  • A charcoal traceability system to trace charcoal movement from woodlots to the end user has been developed and can be accessed at f2dprojects.com.