Student Profile

success at rica

Serge Tuyambaze

From Classroom to Field: How Applying Spatial Analysis Coursework Leads to Optimized Macadamia Production in Rwanda

Serge Tuyambaze is a third-year student at the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) pursuing his passion in precision agriculture innovations. This enthusiasm led him to accept an internship at Esri Rwanda focusing on agriculture data science. Esri is a software development and services company specializing in geographic information system (GIS) technology, which enables spatial analysis and mapping in a variety of fields.

“My main project involves conducting a suitability analysis for areas to grow macadamia in Rwanda. By selecting areas with good elevation, temperature, rainfall, and soil type, I am helping to optimize macadamia production in the country. I am also analyzing the feasibility of irrigation, taking into account the distance of farms from water bodies,” says Serge.

Serge credits the courses he took at RICA with providing him the necessary skills and knowledge to make a significant impact in the sector. “All the teaching material was important,” he says, “because these materials influenced how I analyzed situations from different angles and how I expressed my ideas.” The two courses that stood out as particularly valuable for his internship were Site-Specific Crop Management and Applied Agriculture Research Methods.

The Applied Agriculture Research Methods course was also crucial to help Serge develop his evaluation skills which included assessing how different factors affect yield or disease dynamics in the field. “The Site-Specific Crop Management course introduced me to the concept of spatial data analysis and mapping with ArcGIS Pro – a software package developed by Esri,” Serge explains. “This course gave me an idea of how technology has enhanced agriculture and what gaps can be filled with the application of technology.” This knowledge proved invaluable when conducting his suitability analysis for macadamia cultivation in Rwanda.

He believes the impact of site-specific crop management on agriculture is a particularly important component in the innovation and
modernization of the sector. 

Collaborating with an ESRI Rwanda co-worker, Serge Tuyambaze works diligently on a project, applying spatial analysis techniques to optimize macadamia production in Rwanda.

“Government institutions often lack information about small-holder farms, the overall situation in the country, or who needs help because they don’t have data,” he explains. “This can cripple investment in the agriculture sector, as investors don’t know the current situation or risk factors. Farmers often don’t know what fertilizer they should apply based on what soil needs or what pesticides they should use considering disease dynamics. Site-specific crop management can solve these issues with data and field monitoring, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.”

“By understanding how to conduct thorough research, I was able to analyze the feasibility of irrigation for macadamia farms in Rwanda, and how it can help smallholders increase their productivity,” says Serge.

Thanks to the courses he took at RICA and his internship at Esri Rwanda, Serge is making an impact in agriculture data science.

“My work on the suitability analysis for macadamia cultivation in Rwanda is just one example of how my education at RICA will help me achieve my career aspirations in precision agriculture and innovation.”