Wednesday 21 February 2024

TechnoServe launched the Burundi Better Coffee Initiative in its new Bujumbura office

The Burundi Better Coffee Initiative, "Ikawa Nziza mu Burundi”, will benefit over 50,000 coffee farmers in Burundi over the next five years by focusing on improving quality and climate resilience

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BUJUMBURA, Burundi — International nonprofit TechnoServe has opened for the first time an office in Burundi, marking the launch of its project in the country, “Ikawa Nziza mu Burundi” (Burundi Better Coffee Initiative). Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented in collaboration with key sector players: Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock (MINEAGRIE), Burundi Coffee Development Office (ODECA), Burundi Development Agency (ADB), Kahawatu, and InterCafé, the program aims to enhance the quality, profitability, and climate resilience of Burundian coffee, impacting over 50,000 coffee farmers in the next five years.

The initiative was officially launched on November 13, 2023, at the Kiriri Garden Hotel in Bujumbura, attended by representatives from USDA, US Embassy, Burundi’s Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, and other key stakeholders.

Martin Miriti, president of USDA East Africa, expressed his organization’s support for the initiative, saying, “We are confident that this project will make a significant contribution to the economic development of Burundi and to the livelihoods of its people.”

By joining forces between key stakeholders and creating synergies, the project aims to foster a sustainable and thriving coffee farming community. The initiative sets goals to increase coffee production by 20%, improve coffee quality, and boost farmer incomes by 30%.

Key focus areas of TechnoServe ‘s program include:

  • Improving coffee quality: Providing training and support for best practices in production, processing, and storage and establishing new cupping facilities helping farmers connect with buyers who are willing to pay a premium for high-quality coffee.
  • Increasing coffee productivity: Introducing new technologies and practices that can help them increase their coffee yields. As well as supporting farmers to access inputs and financing.
  • Increasing climate resilience: Supporting farmers in the process of planting shade trees, implementing soil and water conservation practices, and training farmers in climate-smart agriculture practices.

Katleen Verhelle, Chief of Party for the Burundi Better Coffee Initiative, emphasized the importance of the coffee sector to Burundi’s economy and the livelihoods of its people.

“Our commitment is to work alongside Burundian farmers and stakeholders to build a more sustainable, inclusive, and profitable coffee sector,” she said. “By focusing on quality, increasing coffee productivity, and climate resilience we are confident that this project will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Burundian coffee farmers, women, and youth in coffee.”

“The implementation of the Burundi Better Coffee Initiative will require considerable efforts from all stakeholders in the coffee sector. However, I am convinced that we are ready to take on this challenge,” said Leonard Kayobera, general director of ODECA “We have already demonstrated unwavering determination to revitalize our coffee sector in the past. Now, we must surpass ourselves and go even further by taking advantage of new practices and drawing inspiration from successes already detected elsewhere.”

Didace Ngendakumana, general director of ADB, said, “Coffee is one the main riches of our country, a true national pride. Efforts are coming together to place Burundi among the best producers of high-quality coffee. I am convinced that Burundian coffee has extraordinary potential and that we can make it a real success story on a global scale.”

The Burundi Better Coffee Initiative by TechnoServe aligns with the nation’s objectives to enhance productivity, resilience and strengthen diversified income streams among coffee farmers. It will contribute to the transformation of the regulatory and commercial environment for the national and international markets.

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