Case Studies:

Sub-Saharan Africa – Kagera River Basin

Transboundary Agro-ecosystem Management Programme for the Kagera River Basin (Kagera TAMP)



Larger scale project crossing several countries. This is a large project that addresses land management to provide environmental services. There are two Payment for Environmental Services (PES) schemes/proposals within the Kagera TAMP area, both focusing on carbon ecosystem services  (Berttram 2011).




Maturity of the initiative

Active – from 2009 to 2013.



Global Environment Facility (GEF) in partnership and with co-funding from the governments, partner programmes and donors at country and regional levels.




The Kagera river basin covers an area of 59,700 square kilometres, distributed between Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. It flows into Lake Victoria, the largest fresh water body in Africa. The project specifically targets farmers, herders, their communities and the private sector;



Information not available.



Lead technical executing agency Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (NRL/FAO).



FAO-GEF-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The project is under the TerrAfrica multipartner platform. The project is managed by both agriculture and environment sector agencies through national technical advisory committees. Country-level coordination is the responsibility of:

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MINAGRI) in Burundi

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry (MINAGRI) in Rwanda;

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in Uganda;

  • Division of the Environment (DoE), Vice President’s Office, in coordination with the three agriculture-sector line ministries in Tanzania.


Market design


Water quality (sediments), carbon, agro-biodiversity.



Information not available.


Payment Mechanism

Information not available.


Terms of Payment

Information not available.


Funds Involved

FAO: US$7,000.000.


Analysis of costs and benefits


The implementation of improved land and agro-ecosystem management practices are expected to benefit land users for the range of agro-ecosystems in the basin (integrated agro-pastoral & cropping systems enhanced PES, productivity and market opportunities. The project expects to deliver diverse viable farm livelihood systems; sustainable, productive practices; multiple goods. The indicator to measure impact is:

  • Sustainable land & agro-ecosystem management practices implemented on 100,000 hectares by PY5 (10 per cent increase in NRM-based income for 120,000 farmers/herders - crop and livestock productivity, energy and water supply; diversified products);



The project expects to deliver healthy soils (fertile, water retention, soil life, C storage), improve soil cover through Soil Water Content (SWC), and impact agro-biodiversity (ecosystem functions, many products; options/reduced risks). The indicators to measure impact are:

  • 20 per cent increase in carbon stores on 30,500 hectares of land (on farmer study plots and sample sites in target arable and pasture lands by PY5 – on average, as C storage capacity varies with soil and land use type);
  • 10 per cent reduction in sediment load in four representative micro-catchments (30 per cent increase in vegetation cover (above + below ground biomass) on pilot 23,000 hectares. arable and 7,500 hectares. pasture lands by PY5).




Some of the project components have clear social objectives, including:

  • Improved coordination and communication: transboundary coordination, information sharing and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for sustainable, productive agro-ecosystems & the restoration of degraded lands (basin-wide collaboration Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP), Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)-Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP); KMGIS/ RS, networks)


  • Capacity building: Enhancing capacity and knowledge at all levels for the promotion of – and technical support for – sustainable management of land and agro-ecosystems in the basin (methods & approaches,demos, Farm Field School (FFS) study plots, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) + monitoring, impact).


Specific indicator for this is:

  • 1,035,200 people benefiting from training in Sustainable Land Management (SLM) (all levels, especially farmer and district).



Legislation Issues

The project specifically targets legislation issues as one of its components; in particular, through enabling policy, planning and legislative conditions to support and facilitate the sustainable management of agro-ecosystems and the restoration of degraded land (community bye-laws, conflict resolution, incentives for SLM). The indicator for this is:

  • Enabling environment for regional cooperation in SLM established (mechanisms for PES, harmonized policies, intersectoral).


Main Constraints

Institutional constraints to PES in the region (Baijukia, in FAO-CARE, 2008):

  • The population perceive Environmental Services (ES) to be free of charge.

  • PES concept not known to conservation stakeholders.

  • No institution(s) currently active in PES.

  • ES not clearly assessed and quantified.

  • Majority of ES providers are also receivers.


Main policy lessons

Experience from the Kagera TAMP suggests several possible niches within existing land management issues. In particular:


Causes of degradation

Niches for PES

  • Overstocking and overgrazing;
  • Continuous cropping with no input leading to land productivity decline
  • Encroachment of subsistence farming into fragile areas
  • Overexploitation of forests and woodland
  • Cultivation on steep slopes accelerates
  • Burning of organic matter- increasing carbon emission
  • Degraded watershed and pastures in drier lowlands and floodplain
  • Protected catchments with tourism potential /biodiversity richness
  • Agro-ecological production areas preserving high ES (organic farming, shade coffee, etc.)
  • Degraded treeless landscape
  • (refugee affected)



Berttram, D. 2011. Positioning the Kagera TAMP project in the PES landscape of East Africa. FAO (NRL).


FAO-CARE. 2008. Workshop report. Page 20 pp in The role of payments for environmental services as reward mechanisms for sustainable land management in East Africa. FAO-CARE, Dar es Salaam.





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