The Burundi Agribusiness Program (BAP) is a five-year value chain development initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Burundi’s coffee value chain is the primary focus of the program, followed by horticulture and dairy products. BAP coffee sector activities are implemented by a small consortium of organizations led by Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), with technical support from Michigan State University (MSU) and their longstanding coffee value chain partners, Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and Sustainable Harvest. Coffee sector development through BAP is organized into four critical components:
- Facilitating the process of privatization and liberalization of the coffee sector.
- Assistance to producer organizations and small enterprises to raise the level of coffee quality through improved practices in production and processing.
- Specialty coffee market development targeting the U.S., Europe and Japan.
- Improving coffee production and productivity.
After more than a decade of civil disruption and political instability Burundi is poised to make the kinds of changes necessary to restore luster to its coffee sector and develop the capacity to participate in rapidly changing global coffee markets. Growing in importance are specialty coffee markets that depart from the traditional commodity-oriented coffee markets in that they are defined primarily in terms of their high product quality and other differentiating characteristics. This development is particularly encouraging for Burundi, whose agroecology and well-developed coffee infrastructure support the production of highly prized “mild arabicas,” and where political will is being mobilized to realize this remarkable potential.
The Burundi Agribusiness program works with coffee sector stakeholders from producers to specialty coffee buyers to enable Burundi to realize its potential for producing coffees of the highest order, through sustainable practices and for discriminating markets worldwide. A summary assessment of BAP impact on the adoption of improved coffee quality practices from 2007 to 2012 can be found here.
Examples of BAP investments in the coffee sector include:
- An accelerated focus on improving coffee productivity through demonstration plots and targeted research to stabilize production levels and to eliminate the occurrence of “potato taste.”
- Reinforcing management and technical capacity of targeted smallholder producers, promote best agronomic practices for growing coffee and reinforcing their local institutions structurally and functionally.
- Assisting farmer cooperatives/coffee washing stations in designing and installing eco-friendly technologies for coffee waste water management.
- Working with farmer’s association representatives and processors on improved techniques to maintain coffee quality.
- Facilitating informational sessions with the Coffee Reform Committee and SCEP of communal administrators and public administration personnel so that they can better understand the reforms underway in the coffee industry as it transforms through liberalization to full privatization of the industrial infrastructure (coffee washing stations, SODECO dry mills) currently being managed for the Government by the SOGESTALs and SODECO.
- Collaboration with multiple cooperatives in the development of grant requests for the setting up of mini‐coffee washing stations to be owned and operated by the cooperatives for the benefit of their members.
- An emphasis on the importance of cupping and developing local Burundian capacities for cupping for purposes of improving coffee quality, calibrating to specific buyer needs, and evaluating regional sensory profiles in support of Burundian appellation/terroir development.
- Assisting InterCafé in preparations for the Burundi Prestige Cup (a trial run for a 2012 Cup of Excellence competition). This includes support to certification development, implementation of demonstration protocols designed to increase coffee productivity, and in the promotion and marketing of Burundi Coffee.
- Facilitating Burundi Coffee marketing activities such as: 1) a trade visit for coffee sector representatives to meet industry counterparts in the US, 2) a Burundian delegation participating fully at the East African Specialty Coffee Conference and the annual meeting of the SCAA, and 3)
- Supporting the Burundi chapter of the International Woman’s Coffee Alliance, sponsoring two of its officers to attend symposia held in conjunction with EAFCA.
- Supporting InterCafé in hosting numerous incoming international buyers and roasters, facilitating for them contacts with key industry players, upcountry visits and discussions with farmers and washing station managers with the aim of establishing future sustainable partnering relations.
- Collaborative development of the Café du Burundi data base and internet platform.