Project Supporting Agricultural Productivity in Burundi (PAPAB) Final Report

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The Project Supporting Agricultural Productivity in Burundi (Projet d’Appui à la Productivité Agricole au Burundi – PAPAB), has sustainably increased agricultural productivity, strengthened resilience and raised income for 865,666 farming households (Component 1 - Year 2019) and 59,575 farming households (Component 2). An impact study1 (2019) carried out to assess the 1 PIP : Integrated Farm Plan. A PIP is a 3 to 5 year plan developed by all members of a household that aims to significantly improve farm management in an integrated and sustainable manner. The PIP is the basis for the emergence of a self-help dynamic among the household members. Integrated Farm Planning approach (Plan Intégré Paysan – PIP), has shown that over 80% of PIP households claim to have significantly increased their income 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 among non-PIP households, which reflects a greater level of resilience among PIP households. The PAPAB project operated for four and a half years, from November 2015 to May 2020, on a grant from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The project was implemented by a consortium of seven partner organizations (IFDC/Project Lead, Alterra/ WenR, Oxfam, ZOA, Réseau Burundi 2000+, OAP and ADISCO). PAPAB also partnered with public entities, namely the technical services of the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, and Livestock, as well as private entities, including Tanga Oil, to promote the cultivation of Patchouli. The project focused its activities on: providing technical support to strengthen the National Fertilizer Subsidy Programme in Burundi (Programme National de Subvention des Engrais au Burundi – PNSEB); contributing to the Common Fund for Soil Improvers and Fertilizers to partly support the distribution of subsidized fertilizer through PNSEB; and providing direct support to farmers to sustainably improve the management of their farms in an integrated, more resilient and responsible way. 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 improver supply systems and (ii) Increasing farming productivity and resilience, organizing farmers and facilitating access to markets. In January 2015, a workshop on the Theory of Change took place around the “soil fertility” issue. This workshop stressed that Burundi was undergoing a severe soil fertility crisis. It also stressed the importance of developing synergy among the different projects working towards increasing agricultural production and conserving soil and water resources. Hence the need arose for setting up a new project to continue supporting PNSEB and reinforce the desired impact, within a sustained and integrated framework, in order to meet various preconditions and trigger a sustainable increase in agricultural productivity. This laid the foundation for the PAPAB project, which initially was planned for a four year period, from November 2015 to December 2019. 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 improvers, limited The number of farmers enrolled in PNSEB increased significantly with the implementation of the PAPAB project, from 625,892 in 2016 to 865,666 in 2019, a growth rate of 38%. It is estimated that, in 2019, 48% of Burundian farming households had access to fertilizers through PNSEB. The increased rates of fertilizing products used during this same period were 69% for fertilizers and 112% for dolomite. This led to substantial increases in agricultural production. The PNSEB impact assessment study has shown that 81.8% of farmers were more satisfied with the levels of their agricultural production compared to the period before PNSEB. With the Integrated Farm Planning approach implemented by the PAPAB project, 59,575 households have developed their own PIPs, extending the project coverage now to over 205 collines (or 26 communes) across the six initial target provinces, of which 49 collines have developed their visions collinaires. 2 This number should continue to grow since emphasis has been placed on farmer-to-farmer training through the continuous extension of the PIP and ISFM approaches which will be strengthened by other ongoing projects (mainly PAPAB+3 and PAGRIS 4 ). The 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. Financial Inclusion and Access to Finance Under the PAPAB project, individual and joint initiatives have been strengthened and supported by on-demand technical trainings and facilitation activities to promote the organization of participating households through 1,305 Solidarity Groups for Savings and Loans (VSLAs). These informal structures have also largely contributed to strengthening resilience and social cohesion within target households and communities, while triggering organizational dynamics around savings and loans principles, which gradually led to financial inclusion. These initiatives have also set the stage for more formal structuring dynamics around entrepreneurial and community activities. This provided project beneficiaries with the opportunity to connect with financial institutions and other market players, while developing specific capacities and services to meet common needs. 2 To that must be added 14,405 PIP households, in 41 collines (or 6 communes), among which 14 have a “vision collinaire” (ex-SCAD project area). 3 PAPAB+: A 9-month project (April–December 2020) led by IFDC to assure the continuity of certain activities specific to the PAPAB project. 4 PAGRIS: Project Supporting Responsible and Integrated Soil Management (March 2020– February 2024). Structuring Farmers and Access to Markets Increased agricultural production has been a motivating factor in organizing and structuring farming households into Farmer-based Organizations (FBO) and cooperatives, mainly to develop services aimed at improving postharvest management (including storage) and access to markets. A total of 179 Integrated Collective Plan structures (Plan Intégré Collectif – PICs), 93 FBOs and 40 cooperatives have been established. Actions have been launched, with support from the World Food Program (WFP), to provide these community-based structures with quality storage equipment, such as plastic silos and conservation bags. Through the Communal Approach to Agricultural Markets (Approche Communale de Marché Agricole – ACMA), the PAPAB project has also promoted the networking of actors and stakeholders, including FBOs and cooperatives, with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and local traders, with a view to facilitating the sales of agricultural products at better prices. A total of 25 cooperatives are now operational and have the relevant bodies authorized to carry out their management activities in accordance with their business plan. However, the structuring process, and post-harvest management system in particular, will need a monitoring and supporting framework, after the closure of the PAPAB project, to advance their activities and sustain their self-empowerment.
Agricultural productivity, Smallholder farmers