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Burundi 2011

Partner Profile: Burundi Agribusiness Project

One of Crop to Cup’s partners at the Buhorwa Washing Station is the Burundi Agribusiness Project (BAP). BAP is a USAID-funded project administered by Development Assistance International and Michigan State University’s Institute for International Agriculture. This year, Buhorwa Washing Station has implemented a brand new, large-scale water treatment system and a new set of latrines and a hand-washing station. BAP contributed half of the funding required, while Sogestal Kayanza (the owners of the washing station) contributed the other half. The new water treatment system is vital for the overall health of the farms and their surrounding communities. Both of these projects use simple technology (though still large and costly undertakings) to make major improvements in the Buhorwa coffee growing community. In addition to these two site improvement projects, BAP also employs a group of field-based agronomists. Much of the work at this time of the year involves trainings to assist small scale farmers to grow more and better quality coffee, and thus increase annual incomes. Additional trainings tackle gender equality, crop diversification, animal husbandry and farmer organization.

Partnering with BAP

We first visited Burundi about a year and a half ago, and we were excited to start a partnership with BAP, as their staff seemed to efficiently understand and work within the intersecting fields of coffee (industry /trade/quality improvement, etc) and development (poverty reduction, economic development, gender equality, etc). As a company based in the US without full time staff located at origin, it is critical that we at Crop to Cup work with quality partners such as BAP. We take great care to build and maintain these relationships, and to ensure that we connect our coffee’s farmers to the benefits of the projects carried out by BAP’s expert employees. Since Crop to Cup’s founding we’ve always treated coffee and poverty as one in the same, which is why we’re so pumped to be working with a like-minded partner like BAP.

Latrine Improvements

The previous employee latrine was a mud hut over a [not very deep] hole, and the new construction is a full block, with 4 latrines for the men and 4 for the women, with each latrine fully enclosed. In addition there is a handwashing station (via rainwater off the latrine block roof). The closest latrines of comparable quality and hygiene are about 45 minutes walk away, so – seeing that over 2,000 local farmers visit the Buhorwa washing station to deliver their coffee – this is a major improvement for the community.

Latrine Improvements

The previous employee latrine was a mud hut over a [not very deep] hole, and the new construction is a full block, with 4 latrines for the men and 4 for the women, with each latrine fully enclosed. In addition there is a handwashing station (via rainwater off the latrine block roof). The closest latrines of comparable quality and hygiene are about 45 minutes walk away, so – seeing that over 2,000 local farmers visit the Buhorwa washing station to deliver their coffee – this is a major improvement for the community.

Water Treatment

The treatment system works through a series of 5 open tanks which are are lined with sand or pebbles. These collect most of what needs to be filtered out of the water, then the large bed of pennisetum grass below acts as a final filter. The grasses’ root systems soak up the water and process everything which isn’t H20, thus releasing clean water back into the valley’s water table.

Agronomist Trainings

Much of the work at this time of the year involves trainings to assist small scale farmers to grow more and better quality coffee, and thus increase annual incomes. Additional trainings tackle gender equality, crop diversification, animal husbandry and farmer organization.