Burundi, a largely agricultural country, is slowly recovering from a 15-year conflict that left over 300 000 people dead. More than 80 percent of the population lives on less than USD 1.25 a day and half suffers from chronic malnutrition. Agricultural production, though almost up to pre-war levels, falls short of the food needs in this rapidly growing country. FAO aims to turn this around by promoting efficient land and water management and helping the country move beyond subsistence farming.

Toward a market-based economy

FAO is helping the country transition to a more market-oriented agricultural economy, encouraging farmers to grow more and varied crops, especially ones like banana and coffee that have good export potential. FAO is supporting agroprocessing and value chain development so that farmers can increase the consumer appeal and value of their produce and market their goods effectively. FAO is also building storage facilities to stem post-harvest losses.

Managing natural resources, reducing vulnerability

Burundian farmers have to grapple with torrential rains, hailstorms and drought as well as eroded soils, pests and plant disease, which can make growing crops tricky. The war left much of the country’s farming infrastructure in ruins. FAO is supporting the Government’s efforts to promote a more efficient use of the country’s water and land resources, helping to rehabilitate marshlands and irrigation canals as well as farmland roads for better access. It is also ramping up food security monitoring, early warning systems, vulnerability mapping and surveillance of transboundary pests and diseases like cassava mosaic and Avian Influenza. These activities to reduce disaster risk are carried out through the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification and a food security early warning system and bulletin.

Expanding income opportunities

Most of the country’s farmers have tiny plots of land, growing just enough to feed their families. Many struggle to do even that. Land scarcity is a big issue, especially with the return of around half a million refugees and the country’s fast-paced population growth. Women widowed during the war, and orphaned children taking care of their families generally have limited access to productive resources and basic services. FAO is working to provide vulnerable people, especially those in densely populated areas, with more opportunities to produce food and earn money. By providing hands-on training through farmer field schools and ramping up agricultural production through such things as raising goats and producing eggs – activities that require little land – FAO hopes to improve food security and reduce land conflicts that could destabilize the country’s relative peace.


More about the country

 - Protracted conflicts affecting 17 countries have driven millions of people into severe food insecurity and are hindering global efforts to eradicate malnutrition, two UN agencies have ...read more
 - Key messages As a result of the socio-political crisis and floods, rural and urban populations in Burundi have sold part of their assets, crops and small livestock, ...read more
 - Key messages As a result of the socio-political crisis and floods, rural and urban populations in Burundi have sold part of their assets, crops and small livestock, ...read more
 - Soutenir le rapatriement et la réintégration durables des populations affectées par les crises au Burundi par l'appui à la viabilisation des villages ruraux intégrés (VRI) au ...read more
 - In 2016, FAO seeks USD 787 million to assist over 21 million crisis-affected people in 29 countries. FAO in the 2016 Humanitarian Appeals
 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has collaborated with the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) since 2009 to support activities and programmes ...read more
 - Fisheries play an important role in the economic and social life in Burundi. Yet, about 10 to 15% of the harvest was lost during the ...read more
 - Cultivated mainly on marginal lands by small-scale farmers, cassava is an inexpensive and essential part of the diet of vulnerable communities across Africa. Millions of people ...read more
 - The future of cassava, one of Africa’s most promising and climate-resilient crops, may be under threat if efforts to renew the fight against diseases affecting the ...read more
 - Emergency restocking of improved cattle in Burundi was undertaken after 1993 following the almost dozen years of civil war that claimed the lives of more than ...read more