In partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), GeoPoll conducted two rounds of SMS-based surveys to determine the drivers of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices for Rwandan farmers. During the first round of surveys conducted at the beginning of the harvest season (October – November 2016), GeoPoll utilized its database of 1.4 million mobile users in Rwanda to identify and reach 1,308 farmers across five provinces. At the end of the harvest, GeoPoll conducted a second round of surveys in March 2017—targeting the same 1,308 farmers surveyed in 2016.

The first round of data collection generated valuable information including types and varieties of crops planted and methods used to improve soil fertility, including:

Maize is the most prevalent crop planted. 46% of farmers grow maize, followed by dry beans (41%), and cassava (31%)

Most common seed varieties used by crop:

  • 35% of maize farmers use certified improved seeds
  • 36% of dry bean farmers use traditional unimproved dry beans
  • 44% of cassava farmers use traditional improved cassava beans

Fertilizer types. In addition to fertilizer, manure and compost were the most popular methods to improve the soil fertility for maize and dry beans.

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  •   60% of dry bean farmers and 57% of maize farmers used manure and compost.
  • None of the surveyed cassava bean farmers used additional methods to improve soil fertility other than fertilizer.

Following the harvest season, GeoPoll conducted a second round of data collection, reaching 827 farmers from the first round. When asked to name the three most common types of crops planted during the last cropping season, maize, dry beans, and cassava continued to be the most popular. However, dry beans replaced maize as the most planted crop. Seventy-one percent of farmers planted dry beans, 65 percent planted maize, and 28 percent planted cassava.

In addition, the second round of data collection also sought to understand the amounts of crops harvested and sold, major sources of information on agriculture technologies, advisory services on crop marketing, and trends in the utilization of formal and informal savings and credit service providers. Insights included:

  • Agriculture extension officers were the most popular source of information on agricultural technologies
  • Nearly half of respondents (43%) received advisory services on crop marketing
  • More than three-quarters (76%) of farmers were members of informal savings and credit services
  • 37% borrowed money from a formal credit service provider during the past five years
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GeoPoll’s support to IFPRI in Rwanda builds off of its 2015 work in Tanzania targeting farmers. GeoPoll surveyed 1000 respondents from 21 different regions in Tanzania to understand maize value chain constraints and opportunities for smallholder farmers. The data collected helped IFPRI develop strategies to identify the knowledge and demand of new seed varieties, increase market availability of new seed varieties, and determine the best ways to help farmers adapt to hybrid farming.