Despite fertile soils and a beneficent climate, farming in Burundi hardly generates any income. This is not farming by choice, but a consequence of fate: farmers have no other options. Farmers are therefore often not motivated to invest in their farm, as they lack agricultural knowledge and resources to increase their yields.
As a result of continuous productivity decline, many farmers want to leave the rural areas. The Integrated Farm Planning approach, shortly called PIP approach, developed by Aad Kessler from Wageningen Environmental Research, aims to reverse this situation and convert these farmers into sustainable entrepreneurs.
Motivated people and healthy land
The PIP approach focuses on two crucial issues: motivated people and healthy land. Farmers learn how to plan their farm, and integrate better soil and crop management practices. With these practices, they can often triple their yield. Agricultural knowledge from experts further spurs farmers’ investments in healthy land, as such assuring a sustainable increase in production. These motivated farmers become farmers by choice, good stewards of their land, and they inspire other farmers to do the same.
In Burundi, more than 30,000 households have been reached over the past years with the PIP approach. With WUR being responsible for sustainable farming, the plan has restored farmers’ intrinsic motivation to invest in their farm. This renewed confidence that their farm is the basis for a sustainable living encourages them to stay in their villages. Farmers now collaborate in entrepreneurial activities, they form cooperatives, and they have become more food secure. This change is sustainable because it is based on ownership, with motivated farmers leading the way towards sustainable farming.