Promoting agriculture

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From February 29 to March 1, 2016 at Kunduchi Beach Hotel & Resort, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania was held an inception meeting aiming at continuing promoting agriculture, climate, trade linkages in the EAC with focus on agro-processing.

Thanks to the funding support provided by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the event was organised by CUTS International Geneva in partnership with CUTS Nairobi. The two organisations together with national partners in the EAC countries, had implemented the PACT EAC project-1 for the last 4 years in the EAC region as well as in Geneva. The project contributed to the building of knowledge and capacity of relevant EAC stakeholders on the linkages between trade, climate change and food security policies. This was done through a set of organically linked research, advocacy, networking and training activities at the national, regional and multilateral levels. The workshop based its rationale that agricultural sector is the major source of employment and livelihood in the EAC. For a development strategy, Agro-industry links agriculture and manufacturing sectors and can be a potential earner of foreign exchange by supporting EAC’s export-led growth strategies. Also, there is a common understanding that agro-industry through value-addition can lead to economic growth. No more do we view agriculture and industry separately, terming the former as the first stage and the latter as the next higher stage of development. Agro-Industrial Development (AID) and agro-industry (AI) have become crucial instruments to fight poverty.

Groupe photoGroup Photo

The main objective of the inception meeting in Dar-es-Salaam was to present the project plan for stakeholders’ feedback, as well as to assess the current state of play in the EAC regarding coherence and linkages among policies related to agro-processing, climate change, food security and trade, to identify policy and capacity gaps related to these issues. To do so, the specific objectives to achieve were:

The event registered over sixty participants from various background including attendees stakeholders from the five EAC countries, particularly the representatives from the concerned ministries, EAC Geneva negotiators, EAC UNFCCC negotiators, private sector involved in agro-industry, non-governmental organizations, media, farmers’ organizations, the EAC Secretariat, as well as by the representatives of international organizations, concerned with the topics, such as FAO, UNEP, UNFCCC, and WTO.

The following nine participants represented Burundi:

  1. Godefroid MANIRANKUNDA – ADIR President who also acted as spokesperson, civil society,
  2. Renilde NDAYISHIMIYE – IGEBU Director General and PFN Climate, Ministry of Environment,
  3. Anitha NSHIMIRIMANA – Counselor in agro-industry, Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism,
  4. Esaie NTIDENDEREZA – Head of Investment Promotion Division, Burundi Investment Promotion Authority,
  5. Séverin SINDAYIKENGERA – Professor of Agronomy at University of Burundi and Director of Agricultural Technology Institute,
  6. Deogratias BANZIRUMUHITO – Coordinator of AGAKURA Jeunesse Providence; ASBL,
  7. Cynthia MANIRAMBONA – Entrepreneur Women Association (AFAB) ; Representative,
  8. Thérèse MANIRAMBONA – Burundi Mission in Geneva; First Counselor,
  9. Jean Jacques NDAYISENGA – JIA Design.

Burundi DelegationBurundi Delegation

Burundi currently lacks any significant legal framework working towards agricultural industrialization. The country has implemented a Vision 2025 plan, currently supported by the medium-term planning instrument GPRSF II, promoting sustained job-generating growth. This includes clauses on gender equality and environmental consciousness, but lacks any definitive agro-industrial policy.

Over the next four years, the follow up in promoting agriculture-climate and trade linkages led by CUTS International Geneva and CUTS ARC, Nairobi will aim to build the capacity of individuals, networks and institutions to identify and promote appropriate policies for climate-aware, trade- oriented, food security-enhancing agro-value-addition in the EAC region. In this context, it will more specifically aim to improve stakeholders’ knowledge and capacity to identify better policy options, make recommendations and advocate for holistic policies on agro-value-addition vis-à-vis climate change, food security and trade realities. It will also aim to improve negotiators’ capacities for coherent participation in the WTO and UNFCCC on issues related to agro-value-addition and improve stakeholders’ communication and coordination across national, regional and multilateral levels for holistic approaches to agro-value-addition development.

During the next four years, the training of stakeholders in the EAC will be a key instrument to achieve the above objectives. There will be several national and regional on-demand training workshops organized under the project. In this regard, it is recommended that Burundi stakeholders get fully involved as to gain the maximum of the project outcomes. Spearheaded by CUTS Burundi, regular consultation meetings and research sessions should be scheduled to assess the needs and propose appropriate agro-industrialization policies to be put in place. Synergy is a key element between public and private sector stakeholders. The Government and policy makers should be informed through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry in charge of Planning.

It is crucial that Burundi advances to being fully participative through demonstrating a great deal of commitment when it comes to the after workshops follow up initiatives.

The PACT EAC 2 inception meeting in Dar-es-Salaam have translated in a good opportunity for Burundi to shine and, overall, gain more visibility within EAC related support programmes and integration issues.


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