Special Reports
Scenic view of coffee washing station in Rwanda

What is PEARL

“Partnerships to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages”

Partnerships: Michigan State University is the lead university in the powerful collaboration funded primarily by USAID. Dan Clay is director of the Institute of International Agriculture at MSU, who conceived and launched PEARL in 2001.

Enhance Agriculture: In Rwanda, some 90 percent of the country's 8 million people work in some form of rural agriculture. Rwanda, about the size of Massachusetts, presents daunting agricultural challenges: It's called the Land of a Thousand Hills, and farmers work rough terrain with little mechanization. Coffee and tea are the main exports. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth. Rwanda's agricultural universities have suffered a great loss of faculty members in the genocide, and the current faculty is young and lack advanced degrees.

Rwanda: The genocide in 1994 slaughtered upwards of 800,000 people, and drove some 2 million refugees into neighboring countries. Most refugees – many of them women – returned to poverty, labor shortages and severely decreased markets for crops, especially ordinary coffee.

Linkages: PEARL's strength is in its connections.

  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – An independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. It's the main funding source for PEARL

  • Michigan State University – The United State's premier land-grant institution, MSU has history long and deep in international development and in development work in Africa.

  • Texas A & M University – Another highly respected and internationally accomplished agricultural university, TAMU joins with MSU. Together, MSU and TAMU committed more than $1.15 million in resources to launch PEARL.

  • ACDI/VOCA – A private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth and the development of civil society in emerging democracies and developing countries. Offering a comprehensive range of technical assistance services, ACDI/VOCA addresses the most pressing and intractable development problems.

  • National University of Rwanda (NUR)

  • Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management (KIST)

  • Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Rwanda (ISAR)

Other partners can be reviewed at:

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