The Anglican Church of Burundi has been training farmers to improve rice yields as part of efforts to combat food insecurity in the country. The two-year project has been run in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the overseas development agency of the US-based Episcopal Church. Growing rice has been the main activity for people living along side Lake Tanganyika for many years; but the lack of improved techniques and seeds has caused low production and farmers could not expect to gain much from it.
Through the project, farmers have been trained and equipped with agricultural techniques and materials to improve rice production. “Already the farmers are seeing changes in agricultural production and consequently in their daily lives,” the province said in its newsletter.
“Our situation has improved since we no longer cultivate the rice just for consumption,” farmer Esperance Ndayishimiye, said. “I’m now able to meet easily my family’s needs. I pay school fees for my children. I have bought lands and built houses.” she said.
In addition the ERD, the Province has been working with the Burundi Institute for Agronomic Sciences on the initiative to to tackle food insecurity and to provide improved seeds to communities that are most vulnerable.
“The beneficiaries of the improved rice seeds, who are encouraged to work in associations, have adopted a good strategy of sharing it with other members of the community,” the EAB said. “At the harvest they sell a certain quantity of improved seed at a low cost to other farmers in order to see increased production of rice.”
Elsewhere, the new head of communications for Unicef in Burundi, Mrs Farellia Tahina, has spoken of the successful partnership between Unicef and the Anglican Church of Burundi. At a meeting with Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho, the Primate of Burundi, she spoke of the pleasure of working with churches because “they represent a strong force for change in communities and in the country.”
The Anglican Church of Burundi has been working with Unicef for three years to tackle malaria and hygiene related diseases and to train youth to develop life skills.
Archbishop Martin expressed his gratitude to Unicef for the achievements that the partnership has brought and stressed the necessity of exploring other initiatives.”