GITEGA May 7th (ABP) – The Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Déo Guide Rurema, is pleased with the investments of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Burundi.
He explained that the projects funded by this organization have contributed to the increase in agricultural production and livestock on one hand; and improving the living conditions of rural households, on the other hand.
Mr. Rurema spoke about the real impact of those projects on the beneficiaries, a question recently addressed to him by the Standing Senate Committee on Administrative Issues, and Issues of Decentralization and the Control of Representativeness in Institutions. He said effects and impacts are visible in rural areas.
He pointed out that IFAD-financed projects brought the amount of US $ 30 million to the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB) in 2018, adding that they have led to an increase in rice production by hectare; from 1.5 tons to 5 tons at medium altitude and from 4 tons to 7 tons in the plain of Imbo, and that rice has become an accessible food in the food security of Burundian households.
Mr. Rurema also reported that IFAD-funded projects have enabled the construction of 68 rice storage sheds and the establishment of processing units (distribution of 18 modern hullers and the construction of 3 mini rice mills) and intensification of production in the maize sector.
In the livestock field, he highlighted in particular the increase in milk production and its availability through 27,000 milk cows distributed and the establishment of 39 milk collection centers, 3 mini dairies installed and milk processing units.
In addition, he continued to say, the IFAD projects enabled the hydro-agricultural development of the marshes for the irrigation of 6,800 hectares (ha) and access roads of 1337km, the development of the employment of rural youth (training of 35,000 young people in different crafts) and support for land counters.
Speaking about the added value of those projects after their closure planned for this year, Minister Rurema revealed that several infrastructures and structures resulting from those projects will remain available to beneficiaries.
These include hydro-agricultural infrastructures in developed marshes, storage sheds and processing equipment, distributed livestock, the community solidarity chain (bovine and porcine), milk availability and emergence of a milk industry like the Modern Dairy Burundi that produces Natura milk, milk collection centers and milk processing equipment, cooperatives set up and supported, and community-based wetland management structures.
To the question of the actual modernization of Burundian agriculture, Mr. Rurema replied that this factor of production has progressed the least because of the heavy investment required (high cost of machinery), the reluctance of donors to the financing of that cultural method, the presence of abundant labor force and cheapness.
He pointed out that related efforts are being made, citing among other things, the timid introduction of tractors and tillers to facilitate plowing of fields and the introduction of motor pumps for micro-irrigation.