• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Towards the establishment of a mechanized potato growing farm-school in Burundi


Feb 15, 2024

BUJUMBURA, February 15th (ABP) – Following a visit to Uganda in October 2022 by executives responsible for agriculture to inquire about the achievements of a farm-school called “Kilimo Kisasa”, the owners of that farm-school of Dutch origin organized from February 9 to 13, 2024, in Bujumbura City, an exchange workshop on the participating feasibility study on the establishment of a Dutch potato farm-school of high performance in Burundi.

Executives from the Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi (ISABU), those from the National Seed Control and Certification Authority (ONCCS) as well as those from the Burundi Development Authority (ADB) took part in that training, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.

During their presentation, Mr. Herman Fleer as well as his colleague Mr. Jua Dai Fleer, owners of the company Kilimo Kisasa, explained that Dutch seeds protected by license do not reach the member countries of the East African Community due to the fact that the latter have not ratified the relevant agreements. For them, the low potato production observed in Burundi is due to several causes, especially lack of access to high-performance varieties.

Consequently, potato cultivation does not generate foreign currency even though the Burundian soil is very good for this crop. To remedy these challenges, insisted Mr. Herman, there must be the establishment of a high-performance mechanized Dutch potato growing farm-school. But we will have to start with local varieties and introduce new varieties later, he suggested. He added that with this approach, there will be training and demonstration sessions on mechanized potato farming techniques to help the Burundian community easily access disease-resistant potato seeds.

During the discussions, the workshop participants demonstrated the potential for installing the new farm-school. These include virgin arable land, the availability of qualified and experienced State and coaching services, the existence of private seed entrepreneurs, the political will to encourage and promote the initiatives of private companies, the diversity of agro-climatic zones, the guaranteed domestic market, to name but a few.

Regarding the challenges observed in the potato seed production chain, they noted the lack of agricultural mechanization, the insufficiency of short-dormant seeds, the absence of agricultural insurance companies, the lack of knowledge in post-harvest management, the unsound seed chain as well as the lack of infrastructure for conservation and processing of the harvest.

From all of the above, the workshop participants praised the project to install the high-performance mechanized Dutch potato growing farm-school, especially since the certification of potato seeds dates from 2013, hence seed producers are in insufficient numbers. They say they are confident that with the farm-school, there will be an increase in the different high-performance varieties of seeds that Burundians need. With this in mind, they invited the project designers to work hand in hand with both State and private institutions to achieve their expectations.