Interview: Burundi commends China's support in agricultural sector -- official
BUJUMBURA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- As China marks the 10th anniversary of its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Burundi, one of the many countries that have benefited from the initiative, highly commends China's assistance, especially in the agricultural sector, a senior Burundian official told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"The support from China in the agricultural sector has highly contributed to Burundi's food security. We (Burundi) really appreciate the Chinese support," said Diomede Ndayirukiye, director general of the Territory Planning, Irrigation and Heritage Protection at the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock.
Ndayirukiye was at the same time appointed to follow up activities of the Chinese experts sent to Burundi, who are from various areas of expertise to contribute to the improvement of the country's agriculture and livestock sectors.
"Burundi and China are friends for decades. China has supported Burundi in several sectors, especially in the agricultural sector in order to boost its food security," said Ndayirukiye.
According to him, during the fifth mission of the Chinese agricultural experts to Burundi which has just concluded its term, a lot of success was recorded especially in the introduction of hybrid rice.
"We went from three to four tons of rice per hectare to 10 or even 11 tons of rice per hectare because of the Chinese technology," said Ndayirukiye.
He added that this high production was recorded in several villages, especially in the Gihanga district in the western province of Bubanza, where people's lives have been drastically and considerably changed.
"Hybrid rice was promoted in those provinces and its production highly increased. This project reached the majority of the Burundian population," said Ndayirukiye.
At least 13 of the country's 18 provinces now grow that variety of rice "with a lot of success", said the agriculture official.
He said those Chinese farming experts supervised local cooperatives in many provinces for the promotion of hybrid rice, and that the ultimate goal is to "duplicate technologies that succeeded in China and popularize them through demonstrations and research in Burundi."
According to Ndayirukiye, fish farming and poultry were also boosted in Burundi thanks to the Chinese technology that was "exported" to Burundi.
He added that to ensure the sustainability of the Chinese support, local experts and interns as well as technicians have been trained to use and promote the know-how in their respective provinces.
Ndayirukiye indicated that the sixth mission of the Chinese experts is coming soon and that Burundi looks forward to cooperating with China on the improvement of corn production, pig, and rabbit farming.
Burundi and China enjoy successful bilateral cooperation since 1963. The main sectors of cooperation include infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and health.