Ensuring a close supervision by using technical leaders on each hill, applying a composting technique around partnering coffee washing stations; these are some of the first activities of KAHAWATU Burundi during these last two months in different regions of Ngozi, Gitega and Karusi.
After the launch of its activities in July 2013 in Ngozi, KAHAWATU Burundi organized growers in small groups of 20 to 30 producers to ensure an efficient supervision. These leaders have been chosen by the growers themselves and benefit from a technical and participative training on good agricultural practices. The lead farmers will then pass on the knowledge to the other farmers in their respective producer organisations.
Julia Janssen, director of KAHAWATU Burundi indicates that produce organic manure is very significant: “The majority of households live in poverty, producing organic fertilizer by use of composting methods is accessible to the majority of smallholder farmers once well organised.” She specifies that organic manure will have a double advantage: “It will be used not only in the coffee fields, but can also be applied for e.g. food crops to reduce food insecurity.”
One technique, several opportunities
A well appreciated method by the population. Usura Nkundwanabake, 45, leader of the hill Camugani indicates that before the training, she didn’t know how to properly prepare her composting and declared joyfully, thanking Philippe NYANDWI, agronomist of KAHAWATU, “producing fertilizer with local materials previously considered unnecessary, it’s unbelievable but true.” This view is reinforced by Charles Bigirindavyi, leader of the hill Gasekanya who sees several opportunities arising out of this newly acquired technique: “I intend to install multiple composting sides and develop an income-generating activity; my ambition is to buy some pigs, maybe some cows.”
Jean Prime KABUKUNDI and Philippe NYANDWI, both agronomists of KAHAWATU, explain that by using “plant materials, banana trunks, decomposable pulps , ashes and animal manure, a compost of 8m x 3m produces around 5-7 tons of organic manure in 60 or 90 days”.
The Regulatory Authority of the coffee sector (ARFIC) is adding: “The method of producing organic fertilizer introduced by KAHAWATU Burundi allows, not only to increase organic manure, but also becomes less expensive than chemical fertilizers, “says Marius BUCUMI, technical director, visiting producers participating in KAHAWATU’s programme. He is asking KAHAWATU to continue to work with local administration and the existing extension service in teaching and applying this technology.
Renewing the old, unproductive coffee trees; next step for KAHAWATU
In order to address the problem of aging coffee trees, KAHAWATU is assisting farmers in producing seedlings in newly established coffee nurseries. So far, KAHAWATU is working with around 14,000 smallholder farmers in nine communes: Mutaho in the province of Gitega, Gitaramuka in Karusi, as well as Kiremba, Ruhororo, Nyamurenza, Mwumba, Ngozi and Gashikanwa in the province of Ngozi.
The aim of the KAHAWATU foundation is to improve the living conditions of farmers through increased productivity and quality of coffee. It supports the coffee sector in addressing its major challenges: low productivity and high level of cyclicity in production. These constraints are related to the decline in soil fertility, aging trees, and the lack of good agricultural practices.