Our Origin and our Objectives
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Burundi: Three out of four Burundians are affected by hunger and malnutrition. Poor nutrition is also the main cause for the still very high death rate among children under five years of age. 90% of families depend for their livelihood on agriculture. Land sizes, however, are small, soil fertility is poor and soil degradation by erosion is a serious problem. Although it is women who do the most work in the fields and who are responsible for feeding their children, their access to extension services and agricultural inputs is limited.
These are some of the factors that a four-year food-security project seeks to address. It is co-funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and started in 2015. The project works with 3,900 smallholder households in 23 communities and two districts of the province of Karusi in the northeastern part of the country. Its benefits are expected to reach up to 20,000 food-insecure families by project end.
Seed Multiplication: With the help of our experienced local partner organization Réseau Burundi 2000 + we train 400 smallholders in seed multiplication so that they can produce and propagate high-performing local seeds and cuttings of beans, corn, manioc and banana in order to permit smallholder families an improved local access to higher yielding and more disease-resistant varieties of these staple foods. The project will furthermore support the establishment of two district-wide producer cooperatives which can defend the smallholders’ interests in their dealings with local authorities and the private sector.
Securing the livelihoods of 3,500 households: The project assists 3,500 vulnerable families in accessing agricultural extension services, establishing kitchen gardens and keeping goats for improved food security and nutrition. Reforestation and terracing activities as well as the extension of proven farming practices will make a contribution to the rehabilitation of highly degraded land and to the improvement of soil water retention and fertility.
Increasing Storage Facilities: The project communities lack adequate and secure facilities to store their agricultural produce which perishes quickly in the tropical conditions. The families must sell their yields immediately after harvesting at a low price only to rebuy foodstuffs later at a considerably higher cost. In order to address this problem, four storage facilities, each of them accommodating up to 60 tons of produce, will be built. Upon completion they will be accessible to all smallholders and managed by trained community committees.
Training of Extension Workers: To help tackle the shortage of agricultural extension workers, our partner organization will train 92 locals to provide technical advice and assistance on farming techniques and animal husbandry to the smallholder families in their communities.
Practical nutritional Advice: 46 local volunteers will be chosen to be trained as nutritional advisors. They will perform cooking demonstrations and provide practical information on how to diversify and improve household daily nutrition by using locally available ingredients and nutrient-preserving cooking techniques.
In all its activities the project adopts an approach of continuous dissemination in that the direct beneficiaries are guided and motivated to pass on acquired knowledge and skills, produced seeds and animal offspring to other needy families. The project thereby makes an important contribution to securing agricultural livelihoods and nutrition in its target districts.