One of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world is continuing its effort to prevent a large-scale emergency situation in the African nation of Burundi, where more than 782,000 are at risk of famine.
In a report released yesterday by World Vision International (WVI), the organization said that frequent severe droughts plaguing East African countries have had a dramatic impact on the humanitarian situation in Burundi, where subsistence farming provides the main source of livelihood for more than 90 percent of the population.
In rural parts of Muyinga and Karuzi provinces in the north-east of the country, where irrigation is limited, more than 782,000 people are left at the mercy of the weather and are often at risk of famine, according to WVI.
Since 2003, World Vision Burundi has been assisting these farmers and their families through a food security project in an effort to prevent a large-scale emergency situation.
The project, which is targeting more than 44,000 households in three provinces in the north-east of the country, is focused on the most vulnerable, such as child-headed households, widows, orphans, the elderly, and refugees from the war who have returned to the country.
WV Burundi is providing training on new agricultural techniques and is also distributing seeds and livestock as well as fruit trees, vegetable seeds and agricultural tools.
David Ntibanyurwa, WV Burundi Food Security Coordinator and Agricultural Program Officer, said the organization has been working with national and regional agricultural organizations in East Africa to improve crop production, introducing new drought- and disease-resistant types of locally grown vegetables, and empowering the lead farmers to use innovative agricultural methodologies in their communities.
WV has earned trust among these communities, where we have been working for over three years, he said, according to yesterday's WVI report.
Ntibanyurwa also said achieving food security is the first step for the farmers.
The next step of the project is to ensure that communities reach a level of production which will allow them to not only provide enough food for their families, but also by selling part of the harvest, have an additional cash income for other needs such as education for their children, he stated.