Calling leaders for fulfilling their commitments: story of change

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 16:29

Farmers addressed a memorandum to provincial governors and communal councils (decentralized administration), stating clearly that ‘’access to land means access sustainably to livelihoods for oneself and families. Overall, the average of surface of land good at growing food is progressive reducing every year and related conflicts which are pending in courts are increasing every year. Fertile land continues to reduce as result of high density of the population and consequently the security settings (food, physical and environment) are compromised due to pressure on natural resources. We urge you to understand that for us land is inseparable with property rights. We need urgent land reforms’’

Below, Mrs Ruhoza Angeline, a woman with 51 years old. She is the farmers network leader in Kirambi (Training Centre in Bweru, Ruyigi) Mrs Ruhoza testifies what women may be proud about presentely and address new expectation. ‘’Before we started the coalition KENYERAZIGUME, women were banned /excluded and confined in their households role. Women came together and expressed their concerns they were facing to. Most of problems found solution. We set up a revolving credit mechanism. When a member is in a need of urgent money, especially for school fees, we give a lump sum of money and let him or her pay back as he or she can. Our expectation from the government is getting land for agriculture. The production will increase since the space increases and we get domestic animals which produce fertilizer. That’s why we are thankful to ActionAid Burundi which gave us 14 ha of land for free. That has helped us to achieve our goal’’.

Farmers use to annually organize forums as dialogue space with decision makers, debate and evaluation of progress against the government promises and policies. This forum took place between the 14th and 17th October where 190 farmers leaders representing almost 3000 farmers of 17 provinces participated. For the 1st time, a fair marked was organized to share experience, achievements and strengthening relationships. Below is the moment where the Ministry in charge of Agriculture and Livestock at the opening of the National Farmers’ Forum and Fair market. The ultimate double objective of the Forum was to reduce poverty and improving food security in rural areas through to support the food production and the processing and integration of local crops in chain value while poor people organize themselves and build power together in order to influence decision makers over time.

Kinyoma Pierre, 50 years old, is the president of the provincial Farmer network ‘’ Kenyerazigume’’ which regroup 20 associations and allow 144 households (whose 98 are women-led) to meet their needs: ‘’We learn a lot because we witnessed how far other farmers have reached. I was amazed by the fact, we discussed directly with customers to bargain price. There were no intermediaries. Many associations have stepped up in food processing and we realized that our region is full of potentials we can take advantage and increase our revenue. We are able to produce ourselves, juice from various fruits such as pineapple and tomatoes, oil and milk from soybeans and peanuts. We nowadays go strengthen our coalitions and intensify the production of commodities which can increase added value. However, I know that nobody can be born and immediately starts jumping(Ntawuvuka rimwe ngo yuzura ingovyi). We usually harvest commodities which are perishable while we are not equipped enough to stock them for long time. The example is tomato fruit. We brought 600 kg of honey conditioned in traditional way but we saw how we can process differently for getting more income and consumers. We also got in touch with other farmers from other parts of the country and are prepared now to jump to another step”.