Investment attraction and facilitation training
As part of the capacity building support being provided to the East Africa investment Promotion Agencies by the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, an investment attraction and facilitation training was held on Monday, 5th,September 2016 at Burundi Investment Promotion Agency.
The goal of the workshop was to establish a benchmark of strategies and tactical processes that Burundi IPA should focus on. The one-day training offered to API staff including seniors experts was very interactive, problem-based learning and provided opportunity for participants to discuss opportunities and challenges within Burundi IPA and to create some of the attraction and facilitation tools and processes oriented to improving its effectiveness.
Among the topics reviewed were the situational analysis for business attraction in the context of regional economic development agendas, the project management basics, the investment project packaging and marketing &public relations.
For a smooth run of Burundi IPA activities, the workshop concluded that the Agency needs to find out means to increase its financial resources, to train its personnel in areas such as trying to remove language barrier, to strengthen its communication by researching on maximum of information needed by investors and channeling it through its website, and to contribute more to ensure that a well-documented and relevant strategic action plan is available.
In addition to not having sufficient financial budget, it was also concluded that Burundi IPA is suffering from a shortage in terms of number of employees per department. In these and many other situations, strategic measures were recommended including, partnering with local investment and training specialized institutions, utilizing interns in a better way by setting up clear and consistent activities for interns and by allowing a bit longer internship period, etc.
The EAC aflatoxin prevention and control strategy
The East Africa Community Vision is to create “a prosperous, competitive, secure and politically united East Africa”. The Mission of the Community is “to widen and deepen Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Integration in order to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value added production trade and investment”.
One of the key areas of cooperation spelt out in the EAC Treaty is to harmonize Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures in order to facilitate trade within the community and other trading partners. The SPS Protocol adopted by EAC Partner States in 2013 is the main overarching instrument for operationalization of EAC SPS agenda. Its principal objective is to adopt and enforce SPS measures in order to safeguard human, animal and plant health. The EAC Aflatoxin prevention and control project is anchored within the broader context of the aforementioned SPS provisions.
Aflatoxin: Definition and magnitude
The aflatoxin is a highly carcinogenic produced by the Aspergillus spp. especially “A. flavus”, a fungus commonly found in soils and on plant matter, including cereals, oil seeds, root crops, spices and legumes. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that 25% of world food crops are affected while the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) estimate that more than 4.5 billion people in developing world are exposed to Aflatoxin. Countries situated between the 40ºN and 40ºS of the equator are most at risk, with the combination of heat and high moisture levels as the key factor in facilitating the growth of the fungus.
The Operational Context for Aflatoxin Prevention and Control in EAC Partner States
Existing efforts to mitigate aflatoxin at national level in the EAC Partner States have remained fragmented and not adequately supported, technically and financially. The EAC Regional Project on Aflatoxin has been designed to address this gap through development of a multi-sectoral and pragmatic evidence-based Strategy and Action Plan. The Strategy will be the foundation to move the EAC Partner States to a coordinated and harmonized course of action in tackling the impacts and effects of aflatoxin. The prevailing operational context for Aflatoxin prevention and control has been reviewed in each EAC Partner State. The situational analysis of aflatoxin in Burundi is summarized below.
Situational Analysis of Aflatoxin in Burundi
Aflatoxin management is still at a nascent stage in the Republic of Burundi. While the country has enacted SPS and zoo sanitary legislation, the two pieces of legislation have no provisions on aflatoxin management. The prevailing circumstances suggest that the magnitude of aflatoxin in Burundi could be high. The ISABU (Burundi National Agricultural Research Institute) in collaboration with ASARECA-ILRI and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have undertaken research through sampling and analysis of maize and groundnuts in 2013 and 2014. The publication of the research outcome is underway. Sampling collection was conducted in all agro-ecological zones where maize and groundnuts are produced. The results revealed aflatoxin presence across the entire country with a high prevalence in low altitude regions of Imbo, Mosso, Bugesera and Buyenzi due to high temperature and a good amount of humidity recorded in those regions. The lack of baseline on the incidence and prevalence on aflatoxin has been a major challenge in the country.
In addressing this gap, IITA in collaboration with ISABU are working on modalities of generating baseline and exploring options for biocontrol interventions. In addition sensitization meetings were organized in 2016 with a range of participants from different stakeholders including public and private sectors as well as the civil society. Also, participants from agriculture, health, environment, trade, standards bureau (BBN), farmers groups, journalists, NGOs, researchers, academia, etc. attended the meetings. A manual guide and flier (in Kirundi and French) were designed to cover a wide sensitization.
The EAC Secretariat and Partner States are called to intensify sensitization at national and regional levels to inform people on the prevention and control of aflatoxin. Burundi is called up to establish a national technical working group on aflatoxin prevention and control and should mobilize resources for aflatoxin prevention and control along the agriculture sector value chains in the Country.
Increasing food production through aquaculture
On Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 was held at Burundi Investment Promotion Authority, API, a presentation on the pitfalls and opportunities in the aquaculture sub-sector. Taking advantage of his first visit ever to Africa, API invited Professor GULBRANDSEN from Norway to chair an afternoon discussion exploring on investing in fish farming business. What is the state of play? According to UN reports, agriculture production is likely to decline on account of climate changes, phosphate shortage, aquifer depletion and biofuel production. The World Bank says that the world needs to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050 but climate change could cut crop yields by more than 25%. Moreover, some facts are seriously disturbing as the world population increases with more than 200 000 people per day while more than one billion people are undernourished or malnourished, 25 000 people die of hunger related causes, per day. Renewable resources are being depleted faster than they are replenished. Deforestation increases, mainly in the tropics. Between 1990 and 2005, Burundi lost 47.4% of its forest cover. In 2015, the Burundi bureau of statistics estimated to 71.1% the poverty rate and it should be reminded that agriculture sector is the source of livelihood for the majority of the population in Burundi. The land, biodiversity, oceans, forests, and other forms of natural capital are being depleted at unprecedented rates. The Burundi Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, reports that the level of food security has deteriorated every year since 1994, with regard to the level of availability, access, utilisation and stability. Unless we change how we grow our food and manage our natural capital, food security will be at risk, especially for the World’s poorest.
Professor GULBRANDSEN during the presentation.
It is noted that fishery have been contributing a great amount to food security in Burundi. In fact, Lake Tanganyika contains a big number of fish including two main fish species, Solotrissa Tanganikae and Liciolates Sappersii, that are subject to a high commercial traffic throughout the country. However, given the potential fishery declining coupled to mosquito-net fishing that threatens fishing in Lake Tanganyika new fish production methods need to be used.
Using lessons learned in Norway, statistics reveal that despite its population of 5.1 million, this Scandinavian country is one of most fish producers in the World. In 2015 alone, it has produced 1.3 million tones of salmon. Aquaculture of fishes takes mainly place in freshwater that counts for about 1% of the world’s water surface while the marine environment constitutes about 70% of the world’s surface. Fresh water represents 4% of all water on earth and only lakes and rivers count for 0.0067 %, the rest of fresh water being located underground.
In the quest of increasing food security in Burundi, the afternoon debate at API aimed at learning on Norwegian experience in fish farming through aquaculture using modern techniques. The 2014 world aquaculture production in Freshwater fish counted for 40 490 302 tons with a meager share of Burundi production amounting 1700 tons only, as reported by the Director in charge of aquaculture departement at the Burundi Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. He further admitted that unless new techniques are used and investment funds secured, the aquaculture in Burundi will remain way too costly to be effectively implemented. Today’s methods of fish capture have to be replaced by intensive farming methods because this is the only way to increase aquaculture production and enhance fisheries through restocking.
Businessman Don-Trésor IRANTIJE is one of the Burundi pioneers advocating and committed to investing in aquaculture: “In the framework of coping with the huge challenge of lack of fish in Burundi, we are committed to develop advanced fish production project in large cages based aquaculture industry on Lake Tanganyika. I have been impressed by the magnificence of such installations and facilities when I visited the Aquaculture Industry in Trondheim, Norway. The aquaculture in cages is a new business in Burundi. Our core goal is the production of 30 000 tons of fish - Tilapia and catfish - per year. We need then installations that respond to this ultimate challenge”.
Supported by modern techniques aquaculture is an ideal way to raise Burundi national income and economy. Talking about Norway, Professor GULBRANDSEN referred to the Atlantic Halibut and Northern Bluefin Tuna species which coexist on the Norwegian coast and which could respectively raise the income up to US$ 1,800.00 and US$ 15,000.00 per piece. Therefore, it is crucial to improve aquaculture through introducing intensive fish cultivation methods and the use the food chain creativity. The Government should look at optimizing synergies between politics, science and business through sensitization. Discussion with Prof GULBRANDSEN also consisted in exploring ways of further collaboration through promoting the Lake Tanganyika aquaculture opportunities to Norwegian marine and fishing corporations.
Note: Professor Jon GULBRANDSEN holds a Bsc in science, a Msc in freshwater biology and a PhD in marine biology/aquaculture. He worked as associate Professor & researcher with NOFIMA in Norway, NOAA from USA Government and is the author of the article ”Solving the food crisis – On an ocean planet”.
Group Photo after the presentation.