Problems and opportunities of wetland management in Rwanda

N.L. Nabahungu

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The aim of this research was to identify problems and opportunities regarding management of wetlands in Rwanda, with a focus on their agricultural use. In Rwanda cultivated wetlands cover 148,344 ha and they play an important role in supporting farmers’ livelihood through agriculture. This thesis reveals the extent to which degradation of wetlands negatively affects individuals, households, communities, the national economy and even potentially the greater hydrology of a region. Cyabayaga and Rugeramigozi wetlands were selected as representatives for agricultural wetlands. The rice in Cyabayaga was the largest contributor to household income with $ 1045 per household per season whereas vegetables cultivated in the dry season in Rugeramigozi have high potential as cash crops. Nutrient balances in wetland fields are influenced by  agricultural potential, farming system, access to resources, gross margin, size of livestock herd and farmers resource endowment. The marketability of the crops is critical factor in the decision to invest in soil fertility improvement. Legumes and maize yields were lowest on the hillside plots compared to wetlands. Fertilizer application increased grain yield of both legumes and maize and nitrogen fixation, the highest yield was observed in the treatment combining organic and inorganic fertilizers. Maize yield after legume was higher than continuous maize production. The nitrogen balance was negative in both sites at all landscape positions. Findings of this study stress the need of integrated watershed management for improved wetland management.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Stroosnijder, Leo, Promotor
  • Visser, Saskia, Co-promotor
Award date10 Apr 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789085859246
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2012


  • wetlands
  • agriculture
  • farming
  • crop production
  • nutrients
  • nitrogen fixation
  • livelihoods
  • rwanda


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