BUJUMBURA. – On a sultry afternoon, Charles Ngendakumana, a farmer in Burundi’s northwestern Bubanza Province, was busy adding a handful of grass to the cattle trough in the backyard of his newly-built rural home, a spacious single-storey bungalow with freshly painted lime walls.
Around him, about a dozen of hens were running around. Pointing to them, he said these chickens had been given to his family by Chinese agricultural experts. “They also provided good rice seeds and fertilizer and taught me planting techniques so that I have enough food to feed my children”, the 43-year-old father of six added.
Four years ago, Ngendakumana began growing hybrid rice introduced from China under the guidance of Chinese agricultural experts. Since then, his farmland has also increased from half a hectare to five hectares in Ninga, a village in the Commune of Gihanga.
“Next, I want to buy more land, more cows, as well as several new water pumps when the dry season comes,” said Ngendakumana in a recent interview with Xinhua, asserting that this was “unthinkable” in the days before the arrival of the Chinese expert teams when he could not even get enough food.
Known as the “heart of Africa”, the East African country Burundi has a tropical climate with abundant rainfall. Its natural conditions are favorable to rice production, but the low yield of local rice production makes Burundians long suffer from food shortages.
To address such a challenge, China has been implementing technical cooperation programs in Burundi since August 2009, sending a total of 45 experts to the African country in five batches to help develop agriculture.
The Chinese experts are currently planting hybrid rice in 22 villages in the country in an effort to help realize Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye’s slogan – “Every mouth has food and every pocket money.”
The experts have visited fields in all 14 rice-growing provinces of the country to conduct research and trials, and successfully selected and introduced eight varieties of rice seed adapted to the local conditions. In this way, they have helped effectively address the problem of yield reduction or even extinction caused by rice plague in the mountainous areas of Burundi.
The Chinese experts also helped establish the first demonstration village of rice cultivation for poverty alleviation in Ninga village, where hybrid rice was grown for five consecutive seasons. – ChinaDaiy.com