OPEC Fund gives Burundi US$20m loan to strengthen food security

 BURUNDI – The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a US$20 million public sector loan agreement with Burundi to co-finance a project that will improve food security, expand access to marketplaces and social services, and strengthen the resilience of agricultural production systems.

The project, ‘Agricultural Production Intensification and Vulnerability Reduction Project in Burundi’, is co-financed by the government of Burundi, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Food Programme.

It supports Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1, which aims to end poverty in all its forms; and SDG 2, which focuses on ending hunger and improving food security and nutrition, as well as promoting sustainable agriculture.

More than 700,000 people in the central plateau region are expected to benefit from the initiative.

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Burundi is ranked 185th out of 189 countries on the 2020 United Nations Development Programme’s human development index, and eight out of ten people in the country live below the poverty line.

“Improving food and income security are critical development priorities in Burundi, where 90 percent of the population derive their livelihoods from agriculture.”

OPEC Fund Director-General – Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa

The OPEC Fund loan will strengthen agricultural infrastructure and support the development of new marshlands and watersheds.

Work will include rehabilitating 150 km of rural access roads and building storage facilities, as well as establishing irrigation perimeters.

“Improving food and income security are critical development priorities in Burundi, where 90 percent of the population derive their livelihoods from agriculture,” OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said.

“This loan will help to create economic opportunities for small farmers and communities, and improve food and income security for rural households. We are pleased to continue to support Burundi’s development priorities and continue our long partnership,” he added.

The OPEC Fund has worked with Burundi since its inception 45 years ago and committed close to US$232 million in public sector financing, including the present loan. The majority of the financing supports the agriculture and transportation sectors.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK) have signed a grant agreement to finance the development of a digital platform to support agricultural cooperatives in the country.

The agreement stipulates a three-year grant, amounting to Ksh88.6 million (US$807,950). Through the Kenya Rural Transformation Digital Platform project, it will improve how agricultural cooperatives, also referred to as Rural Transformation Centers (RTC), access agricultural farm inputs, financing, production information, markets for their produce as well as information on rainfall and other related critical farm-level information.

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The project will integrate smallholder farmers and other stakeholders along with the agriculture value chain by developing a digital platform (RTC Digital Platform) that will connect farmers with the private sector and public services.

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