Supporting Agricultural Productivity in Burundi (PAPAB)

The PAPAB project was implemented from 2015 till 2020 and aimed to sustainably increase food production in Burundi by promoting market-oriented, climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural techniques, supported by targeted fertilizer subsidies. The project used the PIP approach as its core strategy, which is centred on integrated farm planning and management, in cooperation with institutional stakeholders.

Problem definition

The root cause of the stagnation of agricultural production in Burundi is the low productivity of agricultural land resulting from a combination of factors including: low access to and poor use of fertilizers (organic and chemical) and soil amendments, limited access to improved seeds, farming practices unsuitable for restoring and preserving soil fertility, low agricultural income, and farmers’ inability to invest in their farm business. Restoring and optimizing the potential of the use of fertilizers and soil nutrients by diversifying fertilization practices, and supplying crops with nutrients from sources other than chemical fertilizers, are the main issues that PAPAB aimed to tackle through its two components: (i) improving soil fertility through consolidating fertilizer and soil amendment supply systems and (ii) increasing farming productivity and resilience, organizing farmers and facilitating access to markets.

Solution-oriented strategy

Research in Burundi shows that well-integrated farming methods are crucial to improve yields. Crucial here is that farmers - and especially women farmers - are encouraged to invest through mutual cooperation and knowledge-sharing in sustainable land management and better crop management. For this, it is first necessary to improve the (wise) use of fertilizer, improved seeds, (market) information and micro-financing, and support the formation of cooperatives. With the PIP approach this begins at farm and village level, but can be quickly scaled up with a strong focus on collaboration and farmer-to-farmer knowledge transfer. Farmers learn from each other and from experts, and as such can produce more food, not only for their own needs but also for local and regional markets. Increased production will automatically increase employment opportunities in agriculture.

WENR involvement - results

The PIP approach promoted by the PAPAB project has been adopted by 59,575 households, extending the project coverage now to over 205 collines (or 26 communes) across the six initial target provinces; 49 of these collines have developed their own visions collinaires. This number should continue to grow since emphasis has been placed on farmer-to-farmer training through the continuous extension of the PIP and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) approaches, which will be strengthened by other ongoing projects (e.g. by PAGRIS in which WENR is implementing partner).

PIPs form the basis of a continuing process of self-promotion and sustainable development, whereby farming households and communities get involved and organized to implement their individual and community projects. An impact study carried out in 2019 to assess the PIP approach showed that over 80% of PIP households have significantly increased their incomes over the past three years. According to this study, the percentage of PIP households stating that they did not have sufficient food throughout the year is significantly lower than non-PIP households, which reflects a greater level of resilience among PIP households. For more information please also see the PAPAB end-report availbale online here.