GITEGA July 1st (ABP) – Burundi Head of State Evariste Ndayishimiye reiterated his firm commitment to increase agricultural production to a high level and asked agricultural providers to line up behind him to lead a common front in that struggle.
He expressed those remarks during a meeting he organized on June 29, in Gitega province (central Burundi), with the staff of the central administration; the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock; as well as district agronomists and veterinarians from across the country.
“Anyone who shies away from it will be punished without mercy,” President Ndayishimiye has said repeatedly and severely.
He recommended that the participants in the meeting break with idleness and delay in service to better serve the people.
Speaking of staff from the same ministry in charge of Agriculture who are reluctant to join their ministry that moved to Gitega, the country’s political capital, he was adamant in telling them that they must choose between moving to Gitega and entrepreneurship in private. They will not continue to receive salaries without producing, he told the supervisory minister, before specifying that they should be removed from his staff list. To the same minister, he asked to endow the ministry with services that have the value of being there and to assign competent people to it.
Among the development strategies for the agricultural sector, Mr. Ndayishimiye announced that plans are being made to create communal farming development centers, each with an agronomist, a veterinarian and a pharmacist. That center will include a demonstration field for each type of crop as well as a veterinary center. He also said that State or private land properties of at least two untapped hectares, will be granted to farmers who express the need, but grouped into cooperatives. The ministry will assist them with donations on credit of selected seeds, fertilizers and phytosanitary drugs. The reimbursement will be made after the harvest, he stressed.
On the subject of environmental protection, the President of the Republic urged the meeting participants to redouble their efforts in raising the awareness of the people on the drawing of contour lines, the planting of soil-fixing grasses and the agro-forestry. The technical and financial partners of the ministry must substantially show their contributions in agricultural development, he said, arguing that the financial means at their disposal are to be managed for the benefit of the people of Burundi.
Previously, the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Mr. Déo Guide Rurema, had indicated that farmers commended the measure taken by the government to regulate the price of maize. He took the opportunity to ask for doing the same for other foodstuffs, such as rice, beans, and so on.