Friday, February 16, 2024

Promoting sustainable rice farming in Burundi through high-quality seeds and good agricultural practices

Bujumbura, BURUNDI (14 November 2023) – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) conducted a training of trainers (ToT) on quality rice seed production and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to improve rice production and promote sustainable practices among farmers in Burundi, The program was a significant opportunity to enhance the trainees' skills and empower them to impart valuable knowledge to more farmers.

The training was attended by 29 participants, with about around 14% female farmers, from IRRI’s partner organizations the Association of Cooperation and Research for Development, Confédération des Associations de Producteurs Agricoles pour le Développement/ Confederation of Agricultural Producers' Associations for Development (CAPAD), and the country’s national research and extension system.

There are two rice seed systems in the country: the formal system, which is not yet well developed, and the informal system, which is widely used by farmers but while commonly used, does not have access to improved varieties, leading to poor rice production. To address this, the training provided the participants access to high-quality rice seeds, knowledge of how to farm rice sustainably, and connections to formal support systems from partner research institutions and extension organizations.

Saïdi Bizoza, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), encouraged the trainees to take what they have learned and apply it in the field to impact as many lives as possible through the dissemination of the new technologies and innovations they received from IRRI, considering that during the project’s impact assessment.

“We will not measure the effectiveness of this project solely by the number of training courses implemented,” Mr. Bizoza said. “Rather, the focus will be put on the number of project beneficiaries who will be trained.”

The participants were also trained in developing business plans to guide farmers to prioritize their activities, manage resources efficiently, and make informed decisions to improve their profitability.  

“An efficiently designed business plan can help farmers improve crop yields, reduce production costs, and increase profits,” said Patrice Ntunzwenimana, one of the program participants. “Moreover, it can help us secure credits from financial institutions and attract potential investors.” 

The decision to encourage farmers to develop business plans is a clear indication of IRRI’s commitment to supporting farmers and promoting innovation in the agriculture sector, Mr.Ntunzwenimana added. 

“This joint effort between farmers, researchers, and policymakers can contribute to the sustainable growth of the agricultural sector and the welfare of both urban and rural communities,” he said.

Held on 14 November 2023, the Rice Seed Quality Production Training of Trainers (ToT) is under the Great Lakes Accelerated Innovation Delivery Initiative, Rapid Delivery Hub (AID-I GLR).

“I am optimistic that this program has equipped them with the necessary expertise to make a meaningful impact in the agricultural industry,” said Jean-Berchmans Bizimana, Senior Manager at IRRI, “I look forward to the success stories that will emerge from this program.

The success stories will be a testament to its effectiveness in improving the lives of many farm households in Burundi, according to Bizimana 

“Collectively, we can make a positive impact,” said  Mr. Fidèle Gahungu who represented Burundi’s Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock (MINEAGRIE), “I assure you that the Ministry will make every effort to support those tirelessly working to advance the agricultural industry”.


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