IFAD has funded 11 programmes and projects in Burundi for a total investment of US$210.2 million. IFAD's experience in the country confirms that even under adverse circumstances, programmes and projects conceived and designed on the basis of adequate incentives and consultations with rural communities can help improve household food security.
During more than a decade of instability, IFAD continued to implement programme and project activities. In keeping with its mandate for rural and agricultural development, the organization supported participation in social development and the cohesion of rural communities that were directly or indirectly affected. By continuing activities in the face of insecurity and within the constraints of an international embargo on Burundi, IFAD helped communities maintain a sense of normalcy.
The experience acquired during that period strengthened the organization's understanding of crisis situations in fragile states. IFAD emerged in a better position to facilitate participation by communities and supplement the government's reduced ability to provide services to rural poor people.
IFAD has worked with post-crisis governments, which have regularly repaid their loans, and with local communities, which have been involved in preparing and implementing programmes and projects. In Burundi, the organization also works with other United Nations agencies and NGOs.
IFAD is now in a better position to contribute to an effective strategy of assistance and policy dialogue for fragile states' development. The organization's strategy in Burundi promotes rural communities' "ownership" of social capital reconstruction and productive processes and employment.
The implementation of IFAD's post-crisis strategy contributes to:
(i) increasing the resilience of vulnerable groups including youth, women and indigenous people to external shocks by access to credit and assets and economic graduation,
(ii) targeting small-scale producers, through value chain development (milk and rice),
(iii) facilitating access to markets,
(iv) strengthening productive capital and protecting natural resources, and
(v) supporting grass-roots Farmers' Organizations.
IFAD approved its country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) for Burundi in 2016. The strategic approach is to adapt interventions to the ongoing context focusing more on value chain development, once the political situation improves, or on supporting vulnerable groups, if it does not.
The current country programme includes five operations. Their structures are streamlined and include two main components:
(i) strengthening of productive capital, and
(ii) value chain development. Nutrition and climate change as well as youth employment were mainstreamed in the last operations, PNSADR-IM and PRODEFI-II, approved respectively in 2014 and 2015.
The five operations are having a positive impact on beneficiaries. IFAD is expected to add other operations totalling more than $51 million in the near future.
IFAD-funded programmes and projects emphasize community development committees, an innovative feature and a key contribution to the decentralization process. The multi-sector nature of programmes and projects enables them to offer a diversified response that is adapted to the need for reconstruction and recapitalization in rural areas.
The country programme is evolving towards an approach centred on implementing profitable economic activities, developing subsectors and including vulnerable groups in economic initiatives.
The organization acquired an in-depth knowledge of poverty in the country, of vulnerable groups and of their adaptation strategies. It has developed a range of interventions to restore the social fabric and rebuild the working capital of households affected by the crisis. They are based on community accountability and their aim is to enable the most vulnerable people, particularly women, to access project benefits.
IFAD invests in creating jobs and generating income through production and services initiated and managed by small-scale producers. These include seed production, nurseries and rice-growing. The involvement of participants in formulating and monitoring rural development policies is an important feature of interventions.
In Burundi, IFAD orients its activities towards generating economic opportunities and improving food and income security for rural households, particularly for the poorest households. At the same time, it will contribute to the government's objectives to restore social cohesion through restocking and re-establish governance through support to Farmers' Organizations and Cooperatives.
The country programme's strategic objectives are:
- Continue to expand and maintain investments in production under a rational ecosystem management approach to build resilience to climate change and ensure sustainable results and impact
- Develop value chains by structuring producer organizations to promote economic growth through value chain development while building resilience to climate change
- Strengthen the graduation of vulnerable groups and their participation to economic growth in general, particularly the one promoted under the value chains supported.
The targeting strategy for IFAD-funded projects is inclusive of all small-scale producers in the priority subsectors of the project areas. It facilitates inclusion of women and youth and other poor people in production and other parts of the value chain, as well as in producers' organizations and in national decision-making bodies.
IFAD will continue to work in partnership with the government and to forge partnerships with donors, civil society organizations and the private sector in Burundi.