Making Markets Work for Banana Producers in Burundi
Since 2014 in Burundi, ICCO Cooperation has facilitated partnerships between producer organizations and agricultural markets in rice, banana, potato and cassava value chains by providing reliable marketing channels for their products.
Burundi is a landlocked country with an area of 27,830 km². It is one of the five poorest countries on the planet. Nearly 64.9% of its population lives below the poverty line. Poverty is mainly rural and chiefly affects smallholder farmers. The Burundian economy is largely dependent on agriculture, which employs 90% of the population.
To improve this non-bright picture, based on the National Agricultural Investment Plan, ICCO Cooperation uses the Markets System Development approach, which aims at lasting and effective improvement of the living conditions of the poor, understanding and acting on the market systems. Since 2014 in Burundi, ICCO has facilitated partnerships between producer organizations and agricultural markets in rice, banana, potato and cassava value chains. ICCO provides reliable marketing channels for their products and connecting them to the appropriate financial services.
Strengthening smallholder farmers
Euphreim Nduwimana works for ICCO and is responsible for the development of agricultural markets. He explains the program: “ICCO supports producer organizations through training on agricultural techniques such as post-harvest techniques. Furthermore we facilitate access to quality inputs and set up model fields to develop and sustain the learning process”.
Photo: Pascal Majambere
One of the beneficiaries of these trainings, Pascal Majambere, member and president of the Dushigikire Igitoke cooperative, bears witness to this: “It is thanks to training in agricultural techniques and financial education that we have been able to increase the quality and quantity of our production. When ICCO Cooperation put us in touch with Imena SPRL, a banana processing unit based in Kayanza, a contract was signed between our cooperative and this company. Under the terms of the contract, it was agreed that on average each week 4,000 tonnes of banana bunches of one variety should be supplied. We opened a bank account for the cooperative. Payments from Imena were now made directly to the account. This allowed us to be eligible for value chain credit. I must say that the 4,000 tonnes we provide each week have been met thanks to this credit”.
Révèrien Muvunyia, the Financial Director of Imena SPRL adds: “On the side of Imena SPRL impact is also evident. Before, we stocked up in the markets of the place. We had to sort it out because the traders were selling several varieties of bananas. In addition to quality, the quantities rarely reached what we wanted. Since the partnership with this cooperative, we have every week the quality and quantity required”.
In addition to linking OP Dushigikire Igitoke and Imena SPRL, ICCO Cooperation has also focused its activities on promoting innovative initiatives aimed at recovering waste from banana processing. Compost that has been tested and approved by the Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi, is currently used as an organic fertilizer by potato seed multipliers in Kayanza province.
Microfinance, Agri-finance and Value Chains (MAVC) project
MAVC is a four year project implemented and co-financed by ICCO and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The MAVC project aims to increase the income and food security of 150,000 households through better access to rural microfinance and an integrated approach to development and value chain financing.