Impact of Land Use Consolidation on Maize Growers’ Welfare in Gatsibo District, Rwanda (2012-2015)

1David Nyambane and 2Ferdinand Gahonzire

1Faculty of Business and Management, Kampala International University, Western Campus, Uganda.

2Faculty of Business Administration (Project Management Option) of Mount Kenya University Kenya.


This research delved into the transformative role of land use consolidation (LUC) in enhancing the well-being of maize growers within Gatsibo District, Rwanda, spanning from 2012 to 2015. Employing a descriptive and analytical approach, comprehensive data were gathered from primary sources, drawing from documentation, literature, and library resources. Analysis was conducted utilizing statistical tools like SPSS and Excel, resulting in insightful revelations. The study indicated that a substantial majority of respondents (95%) practiced intercropping maize with other crops using traditional methods. However, post-LUC implementation, there was a marked shift as maize growers transitioned to exclusive maize cultivation on a larger scale, significantly boosting maize production. Notably, 85% of respondents ceased the use of intercropping methods, highlighting the pivotal role of LUC in optimizing maize yield and profitability. Moreover, a significant portion (78%) of respondents reported a considerable increase in maize production ranging from 25% to 75%, elucidating the profound impact of LUC on enhancing economic conditions. This positive shift was reflected in increased monthly earnings and savings, empowering respondents to elevate their socioeconomic status. Consequently, there was a notable surge in various improvements, including enhanced access to healthcare through Mutual Health Insurance, increased expenditures on essentials like clothing, education, household amenities, and the engagement of additional laborers. While LUC brought about substantial improvements, respondents encountered challenges such as inadequate organic manure, adverse weather conditions, low market prices for products, and limited markets for maize. To address these challenges, suggestions were made, including the expansion of communal cowsheds to bolster organic manure production, the establishment of advocacy groups within cooperatives, and the implementation of efficient watering systems to support year-round cultivation, thereby ensuring the sustainability of maize farming. In summation, the implementation of LUC significantly transformed the livelihoods of maize growers in Gatsibo District. Despite encountering challenges, the tangible benefits in terms of increased production, improved economic conditions, and avenues for further enhancements underscore the pivotal role of LUC in fostering agricultural prosperity within the region.

Keywords: Land Use Consolidation, Maize growers and Welfare, Crops, Maize production, watering system.


Land use consolidation is not a new concept, and has been implemented in different countries for millennia. It is believed land use consolidation was practised in 1060 B.C. in China, 300 B.C. during the Roman Empire. Land Consolidation has been in practice in Europe since the Middle Ages and the current practices date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Practices of land consolidation are found today in Germany (Flurbereininigung) the Netherlands (ruilverkaveling) France (remembrement), Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland, as well as Finland (uusjako), Norway, and Sweden (fastighetsreglering). There has been considerable land consolidation in Eastern European countries after the reform of the socialist production system that had resulted in fragmented property rights. In the whole of Western Europe by the early 1990s land consolidation involved a quarter of all cultivated land and over 38 million hectares of agricultural land and the farmers benefited from this programme by improving their welfare [1, 2]. The problem of fragmented land began in the 19th century in the world, and in the Iranian year 1341 scattering and small land area, is one of the structural elements of traditional agriculture the distribution of parts, was considered a deterrent. Land reform in Iran caused land fragmentation, increased low-land farmers, and respectively. The fragmentation of agricultural lands has been seen more or less in all countries about problems of land distribution, agricultural planners and politicians recommended integration of land use to solve this problem. The farmers who got involved in its application improved their welfare remarkably [3]. The Land Use Consolidation (LUC) programme was initiated in 2008 as part of a broader Crop Intensification Programme in Rwanda launched earlier in 2007. Not much analysis has been done on its socio-economic impacts on households in Rwanda. Official assessment by the government indicates considerable gains in yield of the select crops. The yield of maize has gone up by more than 5 times in five years, 3 times for beans and cassava, 2 times for wheat and 30 per cent for rice. These are macro-level indicators that have suggested food security in the whole country and by implication reduction in poverty. However not much is known about the impact to household living conditions in general [1]. In the Gatsibo district specifically in the Rwimbogo Sector, the maize growers consolidated land to make their land profitable to improve their livelihood.

By 1994, farm size, on average, was smaller than one hectare, while population density was more than 450 people per square kilometre of arable land. The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rain-fed agricultural production of small, semi-subsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms [4]. The Vision 2020 and the long-term strategy (the EDPRS) have focused on land administration and land use management as key areas for the land reform process that will support sustainable development. These efforts have come up against significant challenges such as population pressure in both urban and rural areas which have led to land degradation. Presently, there are efforts to develop a national land use master plan which will subsequently be translated into local plans to guide zoning for activities including agriculture, urbanization, resettlement, public infrastructures, and biodiversity conservation [5]. The realization of these efforts likely provided appropriate interventions for land degradation which led to enhanced agricultural productivity. Additionally, the appropriate location of activities informed by land suitability assessments ensured that resettlement patterns, public infrastructure and the overall urbanization process provides the right kind of interventions for urban environment issues in particular and proper national planning targeted at promoting environmental management in support of sustainable development. In Rwimbogo, there are some people who did not apply the LUC and the poverty and shortage of food is persistent in their families [6]. It is from this background that this study seeks to investigate the land use consolidation impacts on maize growers in Gatsibo District.


LUC is the policy which came to cope with the increase in population to liberate the cultivable arable soil to merge plots and to make larger fields to increase agricultural production. This also was motivated by the Crops Intensification Program in which regions of Rwanda have been assigned the crops to be grown. The policy of LUC helped the Rwandans and maize growers in particular to improve their livelihood by increasing maize production, improving monthly earnings as well as average monthly savings of the respondents.  The data presented and analysed proved the achievement of the objectives.


The central Government should put in place the irrigation channels to face the shortage of rainfalls. Local leaders should sensitize the population to increasing the common cowsheds in their villages.


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CITE AS: David Nyambane and Ferdinand Gahonzire (2023). Impact of Land Use Consolidation on Maize Growers’ Welfare in Gatsibo District, Rwanda (2012-2015). INOSR HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES 9(2): 37-50.