BUJUMBURA October 9th ABP) – The MPs of the lower house of parliament invited Friday, September 30, 2022, to the hemicycle of Kigobe, the Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock Mr. Sanctus Niragira, to collect information relating to the preparations for the 2023 A cropping season, in relation to the availability of chemical fertilizers manufactured by the Fomi factory and selected seeds.
The deputies of the standing committee in charge of agriculture and livestock issues, chaired by Mrs. Jocky Chantal Nkurunziza, reported to the minister in charge of agriculture that the 2022 B cropping season encountered challenges related to the non- timely availability of fertilizers by the Fomi factory and selected seeds, which caused the harvest to decline in some provinces of the country.
They asked the Minister of Agriculture if there are actions already taken to ensure that these problems do not repeat themselves for the 2023 A cropping season which has already started in some provinces of the country.
Minister Niragira replied that for the cultivation of maize, the so-called local variety seeds that are available amount to 921,034 tons. As this quantity is not sufficient, the ministry gave permission to import the hybrid maize, where 752 tons have already arrived in the country and 600 tons on the way.
For the cultivation of potatoes, the Minister of Agriculture indicated that ISABU is considered as a factory which manufactures seeds. He also added that there are economic operators who are also involved in that field of multiplication of so-called pre-basic seeds for potatoes (imbuto z’ibanze).
According to this member of the government, for this season we already have 376 tons of seed potatoes, a quantity that the minister considered sufficient.
With regard to the fertilizers manufactured by the Fomi factory, the Minister specified that for Fomi Imbura, which is very necessary for sowing, out of the 33,581.13 tons planned, 19,633.13 tons have already been manufactured, i.e. 58 .46%. The Minister also reported that the work of bringing the fertilizers already manufactured in the provinces has started and that the Fomi factory is doing everything possible to manufacture the quantity of fertilizers requested by the farmers.
The MPs raised their concerns that the Fomi factory is not able to meet farmers’ demand and called for the import of fertilizers from abroad. For this question, Minister Niragira clarified that in the projects of the Fomi company, there is the construction of another fertilizer manufacturing plant to increase the quantity to be produced.
For this same FOMI plant, the President of the National Assembly Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe recommended that this company seek a laboratory or sponsor studies that will study the different natures of all Burundian soils which do not have the same amount of acid, in order to manufacture fertilizers adapted to the different agricultural regions. According to him, this will make it possible to have a better agricultural yield.
The elected representatives of the people also specified that the weather forecasts of precipitation from September to December 2022 given by the IGEBU, show that there will be regions which will have precipitation below the climatological normal. They asked if the ministry is ready to help farmers in these regions by providing them with seeds or varieties with a short life cycle such as cocoyams, sweet potatoes, cassava, and others.
For this question, Mr. Niragira replied that the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the various associations working in the field of agriculture, gives farmers seeds of sweet potatoes, cassava and those of different vegetables. He also added that the government of Burundi is promoting the hillside irrigation project and micro dams.
The MPs asked whether the Ministry of Agriculture intervenes in the subsidy of phytosanitary products. On that, he indicated that the ministry intends to buy these products to treat the various plant diseases. Regarding the use of those products, he indicated that there are plant doctors who have already benefited from training and that there is also the project to set up plant clinics which will be well equipped. He asked the farmers to approach the agronomists to help them know the doses to be applied, in order to avoid the danger that these products can cause.
In the field of livestock, the MPs asked for the state of play of Rift Valley fever which came as a pandemic to livestock. The minister replied that the pandemic has caused the death of 472 cows across the country. Despite that, he said the pandemic has subsided significantly and livestock markets have been allowed to reopen at the provincial level. He did not fail to point out that we received the doses to continue with the vaccination. The deputies recommended to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, to redo the sensitization of the breeding in the barn at the place of the breeders, explaining that a relaxation is manifested in the place of this measure which is important in the prevention of Rift Valley fever.