GITEGA May 17th (ABP) – The Minister of the Interior, Patriotic Education and Local Development, Mr. Pascal Barandagiye, accompanied by the governor of Gitega, Mr. Venant Manirambona and the Ambassador of Burundi to the Netherlands, opened on Wednesday May 15, 2019, an information and awareness workshop, for representatives of partners involved in the implementation of the establishment of an agro-food industry in Gitega province (central Burundi).

The participants included parliamentarians elected in Gitega province, governors of the provinces bordering Gitega, communal administrators of Gitega province, representatives of ministries and other companies involved in the matter, and a Dutch delegation of private investors.

This agro-food processing project is the result of a Public and Private Partnership whose shareholders are the Government of Burundi via the communes, the Burundi investors as well as the Dutch investors, Mr. Barandagiye said.

The Minister in charge of the Interior expressed his thanks to the communes, to the Dutch and Burundian investors who agreed to provide funds for that innovative project fitting with the guidelines of the Burundi National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027 aimed at the structural transformation of the economy. He was delighted with that timely project as Burundi encourages the promotion of production cooperatives. He thus invited the communal administrative persons in authority to strengthen the cooperative movement and to mobilize farmers to increase agricultural production, which will make it possible to satisfy the food needs and to have the necessary materials for the processing. The industry will need a large amount of fruits and vegetables in the first phase and other agricultural and livestock products in the second phase, he said, noting that the establishment of the industry at the center of the country will supply the other provinces of the country. Minister Barandagiye pledged to support that local economic development project, in collaboration with the other ministries involved in its implementation.

In her speech, Burundi’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Ms. Vestine Nahimana, said the project will strengthen bilateral relations between the Burundi and Dutch governments. It will also add value to actions to improve the social well-being of the people of Gitega. It will spread gradually throughout the country, as reported.

In a presentation on the location of Gitega province, Governor Manirambona expressed his satisfaction with that project, which will provide answers to the needs of the people, the vast majority of whom are farmers and breeders, estimated at 90%. The industry will thus enable them to find markets for the sale of agricultural products, some of which faced a storage problem. It will also contribute to the job creation and thus the reduction of the high rate of unemployment. As for the assets and potentialities, he notably mentioned the active population and the area of ​​undeveloped watersheds that are still vast.

The Head of the Dutch Delegation and TOP Company Representative, Mr. Nick Van Lanen, reported that the Grouping of Six TOP Dutch Companies is networking and is involved in training farmers on new farming techniques, the study of the soil and the production of organic fertilizers, the manufacture of machinery, the production of the necessary energies, agro-food processing and the sale of products. That group promises to bring its expertise in the various stages of establishment and operation of this processing project that could open its doors within a year and a half.

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