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Oral questions with debate to the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning.

Posted on Tuesday 23 November 2021
parthe Press, Communication and Public Relations Unit

34 million BIF is the amount of credit line at a rate of 2% that the Central Bank has made available to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning for the collection and immediate post-harvest management of corn. This was revealed on Thursday, September 2, 2021 by Dr. Domitien Ndihokubwayo during an oral question and debate session at the National Assembly. As a reminder, the standing committee in charge of agriculture had made a visit to the provinces of Karusi and Gitega which consecutively occupied the first two places in maize yield. At the end of the raid, the Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock explained the observations of the commission. It was in these series of oral questions with debate that the day’s session was organised. The vision of the responsible and industrious Government, which considers agropastoralism as the engine of development, has at the same time undertaken a series of reforms in that sector. The farmer is a real actor in the national economy. The whole package must be put together so that he is encouraged to increase productivity. The first trial of maize production is already promising. A change of mentality has taken root in the minds of farmers. From subsistence production, he is now moving into the market economy. But in this ’trial’ phase it is not the profit that is aimed at, but rather the increase in production. In that way, the principle of the Responsible and industrious Government, according to which every mouth must have food and every pocket money, will be easily realised. Moreover, in Burundian custom, each household had a granary. Burundi is a collection of households. It is therefore understandable that the country should equip itself with the means to preserve its production. The farmer who used to sell his production at a loss comparing to the efforts invested in is now supported by the Government, which buys his harvest at a fair price.

In the case of maize harvest, speculative traders were buying a kilo at a price of 300Fbu, whereas the efforts made were not valued at less than 520Fbu. The harvest was certainly sold quickly, but in disorder, allowing to satisfy for just some primary needs. This situation, which favored speculators, sometimes led to undernourishment in some households. This led the Government to disburse huge funds to help the population. This same population ended up buying its own production at a price of 1,500Fbu per kilo. With the monoculture method, maize yield was so abundant that the Government bought the surplus of 14,000T from the farmers at 680Fbu per kilo. Now that the Government plans to put the production on market at 820Fbu per kilo, 950Fbu including VAT (Valued Added Tax) and the final buyer will get it at 1,080Fbu. This is a cheap price since it takes into account all other costs, including the cost of the packaging bags, the storage shed, the watchman and the transport. The Government is also sticking to its policy as the product will be available at the zonal offices. Nevertheless, there are challenges. Large storage sheds in suitable locations are more than necessary and some tools such as a hygrometer to measure the degree of humidity. In the end, the Plenary recommended to the Government to take the farmer into account before setting the general state budget.

 
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