World Bank Boost for Sustainable Land and Water Management in Burundi to Reach Over 15,000 Households

April 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$4.2 million grant to support the Government of Burundi’s efforts to promote sustainable land and water management on the country’s coffee farms in Bubanza, Bururi, and Muyinga provinces.

The grant is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for which the World Bank is an implementing agency and trustee.

“Coffee accounts for as much as 60 percent of Burundi’s export earnings,” said Philippe Dongier, World Bank Country Director for Burundi. “This project’s focus on rehabilitating and promoting sustainable land and water management strategies will build livelihood and food security benefits for coffee growers and local farmers.”

The Sustainable Coffee Landscape project will pilot shade-grown coffee, that promotes coffee cultivation and a planting approach that mixes coffee with various trees and plants such as beans and maize. Practiced in other countries including Colombia and Ethiopia, these techniques improve watershed and help to conserve biodiversity, while increasing resilience and protecting coffee growers from price volatility.

“Coffee is Burundi’s primary export crop, and as many as 600,000 household depend on coffee farming for their livelihoods,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region. “This project will help ensure the sustainable use of land for coffee production, provide job opportunities for rural families, and help lay the foundations for sustainable recovery in one of the world’s poorest countries.”

The project will offer training to improve agronomic practices for increasing coffee production, reduce water pollution at bean-washing stations through the use of more modern water-efficient equipment, support coffee marketing and certification schemes and introduce landscape approaches that combine conservation and eco-tourism.

Additionally, the project will provide farmers hands-on training with new sustainable land management techniques that improve long-term productivity. In addition to shade-grown coffee techniques, this includes other measures such as mulching, inter-cropping, pest-management, and small-scaled farming methods such as terraces, ponds and underground cisterns.

The GEF grant funds will also be used to strengthen protection and management of the globally-significant Bururi Natural Forest Reserve (BNFR), including support for patrolling equipment, law enforcement, and training and environmental education activities. 

“In Burundi, unsustainable and unregulated coffee production has contributed to deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation and water pollution,” said Paola Agostini, Senior Economist and World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “These funds will promote advances in farming and water management techniques while creating job opportunities for rural residents and coffee growers.”


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