BUJUMBURA September 8th (ABP) – The Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Mrs. Capitoline Niyonizigiye, was on Tuesday September 7 at the Kigobe hemicycle to answer questions from MPs on collection and immediate post-harvest management of maize.
A field trip by the standing committee in charge of agriculture and livestock on the collection and immediate post-harvest management of maize raised concerns among the MPs who saw fit to invite the Minister in charge of Trade to clarification.
When asked by the MPs to know what that ministry intends to protect the maize production which has been bought and collected by the government of Burundi and whose harvest is kept in the various communes of the country, Minister Niyonizigiye said that experts from the Ministry in charge of Agriculture and Livestock have well prepared the storage spaces before the conservation of the corn harvest. “The harvested maize was packed in appropriate bags,” said Mrs. Niyonizigiye, adding that the crop will not be rotten.
To the concern of the MPs on possible speculations of traders who will want to earn more to the detriment of the consumer, Minister Niyonizigiye reassured, meaning that the State will sell traders that harvest at 970 BIF per kg, and that those traders will sell in turn this foodstuff to 1080 BIF per kg.
On the rise in prices for other foodstuffs, including palm oil, cottonseed oil, potatoes and rice, the Minister having Trade in his attributions indicated that experts from the Ministry in charge of Agriculture and Livestock reported that the period of sowing and harvest differs between crops.
“These prices will be revised downwards in the coming days, with the rainy season which will bring about the maturity of various crops, including oil palm”, said that authority, which also mentioned the Covid pandemic -19, the consequences of which have repercussions on prices at the international level and affect local markets.
The MPs also asked the Minister in charge of Trade what his ministry intends to do to stop the rise in prices. According to the boss of this ministry, there will be price regulation of sensitive products. The ministry will also closely monitor compliance with the prices already set by the government of Burundi for certain food products, including maize, rice, beans and potatoes. Sanctions will be imposed on speculative traders, according to Mrs. Niyonizigiye, noting that the Ministry of Commerce is raising awareness among economic operators to invite them to invest in agriculture. Processing of local agricultural products will follow to end the importation of expensive products.
The Minister responsible for trade has said that there is a plan to set up processing industries for rapidly rotting produce to help farmers.
The ministry plans to set up a center at Melchior Ndadaye international airport that will allow imported or exported products that need to be frozen to remain in good condition.
The MPs, at the end of the session, recommended to the ministry having the trade in its attributions, to play fully its role of regulator to prevent the rise of prices and to follow well, through the BBN (Burundian Bureau of normalization and control of quality), if the processing industries, especially those of beverages, produce according to standards to prevent them from damaging the health of people.