BUJUMBURA March 12th (ABP) – The celebration of the 2018 edition of the International Women’s Day in Burundi should put a special emphasis on “the vitality (the capacity to live and develop) of rural women in Burundi” through increased investment in the agricultural sector by 2030, which will see the assessment of the achievement of the Global Sustainable Development Goals(SDG), pleaded Mr. Faustin Ndikumana, Executive Director of a Burundian NGO called “Word and actions for awakening consciousness and changing mentalities “(PARCEM), on Thursday in Bujumbura.
Mr. Ndikumana spoke in an interview with the Burundi News Agency (ABP) with a focus on the challenges facing rural women in Burundi, whose vast majority have been farming since the founding of the of Burundi as a Nation-State.
To date, according to recent World Bank (WB) data, Burundi has a global population of 11.2 million, of which 51% are women.
In that context, Mr. Ndikumana called on the Burundian government to equip itself with substantial means to “liberate rural Burundians” by implementing the commitments contained in the Maputo Declaration (Mozambique) and the National Program for Agricultural Investment (PNIA) with a global budget of more than 1,600 billion Burundian francs including nearly 500 billion annual endowments.
“To date, the Ministry of Agriculture puts only 20 billion BIF. We must therefore dare to confront that national problem and make a rigorous periodic self-assessment aimed at ensuring that Burundi can definitively break with the stage of current subsistence farming towards market agriculture, “he recommended.
Meeting in a summit in the Mozambican capital in 2003, Heads of State from 54 African countries launched the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) whose flagship goal was their commitment to each country to dedicate “at least 10% of its national budget “for investment in the agricultural sector.
According to the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Management System (ReSAKSS), in 2013, 10 years after the launch of CAADP, the results achieved “are mixed”.
Indeed, the observation made is that during this ten-year period, only 13 countries have spent at least one fiscal year, more than 10% of their budget on agriculture. Those are the following countries: Burundi, Burkina Faso, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For Mr. Ndikumana, Burundian rural women still face enormous challenges today in terms of their development in the agricultural sector, which makes them live more than 99%. The challenges, he explained, arise first upstream with the weakness of agricultural production; but also downstream to the extent that even in case of seasonal improved production due to the lack of agricultural processing structures (factories).
“Because, there is still a” glaring “lack of marketing channels for agricultural products in Burundi because of the country’s isolation (no access to the sea and road infrastructure still deficits in the deep country),”he said.
In his view, in order for Burundi to break out of the vicious cycle of food insecurity and acute malnutrition from year to year, the Burundian government should initiate “profound changes” in the agricultural sector over the next decade with particular attention to the mechanization and monetization of the rural world in which there is a large majority of Burundian farmers.