Support for Sustainable Food Production and Enhancement of Food Security and Climate Resilience in Burundi's Highlands
Country Contacts

Salvator Ndabirorere - Salvator.ndabirorere@fao.org


Being an integral part of the Resilient Food Systems programme, the Sustainable Food Production project will contribute to the collective impact of this programme, which is intended to inform approaches to food security in the drylands of sub-saharan Africa towards win-win solutions between food production and maintaining ecosystem services in the face of anticipated climate shocks.



To increase adoption of resilient, improved production systems for sustainable food security and nutrition through integrated landscape management and sustainable food value chains.

GEF Agency FAO
GEF Grant US $7.3M
Co-Financing US $45 M


Burundi is a landlocked country at the heart of Africa’s Great Lakes Region between the River Nile basin draining east and the Congo River basin draining west into Lake Tanganyika. Burundi is characterized by an inadequate infrastructure network, a very low human development index (184th/188), a general lack of capacity, weak governance and high vulnerability to external shocks. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in Africa: with a GDP of $171 per capita in 2011; nearly 70% of the population lives below the poverty line of 1 US $/day/person, and 85% of households face daily food insecurity.

Burundi’s economy is dominated by small-scale, predominantly rainfed subsistence agriculture practiced by more than 90 % of the total population, occupying 50% of the country’s land area. Land degradation in Burundi’s highlands is leading to a decline in agricultural production, loss of agrobiodiversity and contributing to food shortages, food insecurity, chronic malnutrition, land and social conflicts, poverty, rural-urban migration and increased vulnerability to climate change.


Land under integrated and sustainable management (ha.) 80,000
GHG emissions avoided or reduced (CO2e) 1,200,000
Genetic diversity of crops and animals maintained or increased (%) 15 - 25
Land cover (increase, %) TBD


The project is based on the three following components: (i) Strengthened institutional framework and support mechanisms, (ii) Improved livelihoods and food security through integrated watershed management, competent producers’ organizations and sustainable food systems, and (iii) Monitoring and assessing global environmental benefits and socio-economic impacts to inform decision-making.

The lessons and good practices will be capitalized by the Field Farm Schools (FFS) and will be replicable and scaled out in collaboration with co-financing partners. The systematization of knowledge management through platforms and various tools will support the replication and scaling-up of project results in the country and across the region targeted by the IAP programme.


At the national level, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MINAGRIE) will be the lead government counterpart and coordinating agency in this project working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Water, Environment, Spatial and Urban Planning (MEEATU). At the provincial level, the decentralized structures of the two ministries will be involved with the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture and Livestock (DPAE) and the Burundi Office for the Protection of the Environment (OBPE). At communal level, the project interventions will be supervised by the communal/zonal agronomist. The capacities of Farmer Field School Groups, cooperatives, and watershed committees will be reinforced to support local communities (the main beneficiaries of the project). The project is expected to have over 8000 beneficiaries.


An innovative, multisectoral approach is used by this project, involving coordination at various levels of SLM. Policy platform and knowledge sharing mechanisms will help in establishing national and local level support systems. Different and innovative tools, notably to measure resilience, will also be used. The project interventions seek a viable anchor into existing local and institutional systems


The project will deliver multiple GEBs with (i) 80,000 ha under SLM including an increase in diversified cropland productivity, (ii) conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity, with a focus on key neglected/orphan crops across intervention areas (taro, Colocasia esculenta; finger millet, Eleusine coracana; cowpea, Vigna unguiculata; and pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan), and (iii) carbon benefits by increasing the amount of biomass, soil organic carbon and the tree cover in the project area (direct benefits over a duration of 5 years of 120,000 tons of CO2e; indirect benefits over a duration of 20 years; 1.8 million tons of CO2e from the increase of tree cover and 560,000 tons of CO2e from on-farm biomass/agriculture crops).