Economy

Agriculture / Many opportunities, less involvement

The Burundi federal chamber of commerce and industry-CFCIB has organized a “President coffee” networking in order to promote agribusiness and attract economic operators, on 1 August in Bujumbura City Council.

Participants in the “President coffee” networking sharing experience

Participants in the “President coffee” networking sharing experience

“How much should we spend to increase the agricultural production? It is possible to see all Burundians having enough food while about 90% of Burundians live on agriculture”, says Déo Guide Rurema, the agriculture and livestock minister.  He goes on to say that the agricultural domain is overlooked and abandoned only to small-scale farmers while the economic operators were supposed to invest in the domain. “Up to now, there are few private sectors interested in the agricultural production and in the establishment of processing and marketing factories”, adds the minister.

For Audace Ndayizeye, the chairman of the federal chamber of commerce and industry- CFICB, it is important to share experience and networking for the agricultural domain to become more interesting. The same view is shared by Théodomir Rishirumuhirwa, the chairman of the agribusiness sector. According to him, some strategies and policies need to be set up to promote agribusiness. “Given that accessing to bank loans is still limited and difficult, this domain is subject to bankruptcy, then, everybody must be involved and committed”,  he says.

Useful discussions

During three hours, participants in the “President coffee” networking shared a wide range of information about the agricultural domain.

For Festus Ciza, the palm oil producer in southern Rumonge Province, farmers are always losers because financial institutions hardly trust them when it comes to granting credit. “Normally, oil palms should produce about 18 tons of oil per year but we only produce three tons. We lose about BIF two billion due to the lack of bank credit,” he underlines.  For André Ahishakiye, a fruit farmer in western Cibitoke province, several people think that the agricultural domain is not profitable and ignore it.
“So how should we compete with our EAC counterparts who are fully supported? We will always buy the final products transformed from our proper crops as traders from neighboring countries buy up all our agricultural products”, he says.
Given challenges encountered by the economic operators involved in the agricultural domain, Trademark East Africa has initiated a Truck Fund to work them out. Sandra Nyambuza, the Trademark representative in the activity urged economic operators to present their business plans so that they should compete with their EAC counterparts as Burundians are still lagging behind others.

For Minister Déo Guide Rurema, it is important to work in synergy of the ministry, the economic operators and Trademark to find solutions to the different challenges. “To achieve this, there is also a need to change mentality”, he concludes.

The budget allocated to the agricultural domain is 11, 3%. This means that the agricultural budget amounts to BIF 23, 7 billion for around 10 million Burundians.

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