GITEGA May 9th (ABP) – Coffee growers in general and young people in particular are being asked to take an interest in new coffee growing practices, with a view to increasing coffee production of vital importance to the national economy, given that more than 60% of the currencies entering the country come from the sale of coffee. This appeal was launched by the Directorate General of Mobilization for Self-Development and Agricultural Popularization (DGMAVA) in partnership with the Coffee Sector Competitiveness Support Project (PSCAC), during an awareness raising campaign that they have been organizing since Tuesday in the youth centers and Burundi agricultural technical institutes (ITAB), in many communes of the Gitega province (center).

The main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness among coffee growers in general and young people in particular, to innovate coffee growing techniques to increase coffee production. The result is that coffee production for a plant can go from 0.8 kg to 1.6 kg per season, said Mr. Michel Manirakiza, the advisor at the DGMAVA.

During the awareness session of students of ITAB Mweya in the Gitega commune, the representatives of the DGMAVA and the PACSC focused their message on the relevance of the good maintenance of the coffee crop, from the development of nurseries, planting, mulching and pruning, and even the cutting of old coffee trees. They emphasized the need to innovate crop growing practices, as science evolves over time and space.

New techniques include the combination of plants blocking the sun from hitting the soil with coffee plants, but with the spacing indicated. Those plants that can serve as shade include banana trees, indigenous trees that are also of interest for mulching. Their leaves are also used for the fertilization of coffee trees. Other innovations include the planting of intercrops (beans and soy) for coffee trees that are cut, which can serve the farmers while waiting for coffee production. Representatives of DGMAVA and PACSC also recommended the organic amendment through the use of chemical fertilizers and organic manure. The cherry coffee harvest must also be done in time to produce a quality coffee.

The advisor at the DGMAVA, Ms. Gloriose Ndagijumukiza, invited those students to get involved in the popularization of those new techniques. This awareness was supported by a screening of a documentary film on good coffee growing practices. Many coffee growers in Gitega province have already initiated these new techniques and those who have not yet started are urged to follow suit,” said the representative of the National Collective of Coffee Growers Associations, Mr. Daniel Ndikumasabo. In their interventions, ITAB students were delighted with that training which improved the knowledge they learned in classrooms. On the other hand, the prefect of the boarding school at ITAB Mweya indicated that the school has a coffee field that has about 1,500 coffee plants but that requires the involvement of everyone to improve the mulching. He invited the students to be present at the maintenance of that plantation, so that it can improve its production and serve as a model for coffee growers in the surrounding environment.

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