Burundi-Colombia: coffee farmers discover each other

Éric Uwintwaza will carry the memory of the trip to Colombia for a long time. Different growing methods and other visions on development and land management made it really inspiring for him.

Before he left, Éric didn't know what he was going to learn during this immersion trip to Colombia. In Burundi, he led training projects in cooperation with local coffee farmers. He mainly worked with young people, improved their growing methods and motivated them to develop their exploitation. For this purpose, he had to work on their self-confidence ... and the future of the coffee sector. 

Share own experience

He was very curious to find out how they tackle this in this far-away country. What was he interested in? Their growing methods, the operation of cooperatives and the economic and personal development of their members. And especially: how they support and motivate young people. "I hoped to show them how I work with young people and convince them to stay in the countryside." Éric was not disappointed. Quite the contrary!

Supervision and communication

"I was impressed by the psychology behind youth coaching," says Éric. "They make sure young people are attached to their community in order to develop. The communication between the cooperatives and the coffee farmers struck me. They are aware of local development problems, and technical information is very important to them. They put up a fantastic performance in agriculture." 

They know their land

"Everyone here knows the exact specifications of their plantations," Éric continues. "The coffee farmers know what they have to do thanks to supporting computer applications. These tools also help them organise the company on a larger scale. Thanks to this knowledge, they can involve young people in farm management."

Apply the Colombian way?

The different approaches made a big impression on the Burundians. The size of the plantations, the government’s support, supervision with interesting IT tools, etc. But the finca concept as well: Colombian coffee farmers consider their plantations as a business, not a heritage. Éric would like to apply some of these things in Burundi. He hopes the Burundian farmers will also get to know their land like the back of their hand soon. This would create great perspectives.

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