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Burundi: ASTI–ISABU Country Factsheet

Burundi: ASTI–ISABU Country Factsheet

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Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Ferdinand Nganyirinda, Marie-Chantal Niyuhire, and Gert-Jan Stads


International Food Policy Research Institute and Institute of Agricultural Science of Burundi

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

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Further information

Funding volatility

During the years immediately following the country’s 2003 peace agreement, donor funding to agricultural research flowed rapidly, prompting increased spending. Growing violence and deepening political corruption in more recent years caused many donors to suspend or cut aid, with negative effects on the country’s agricultural research expenditures. As of 2014, Burundi invested 0.46 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, well below the minimum investment target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations.

Capacity improvements

The total number of agricultural researchers has risen over time in response to the recruitment of young scientists at ISABU and the return to Burundi of a large number of Burundian professors from universities abroad, prompted by improved salary levels in the higher education sector. Nevertheless, the country’s agricultural R&D capacity remains very weak in terms of the number of researchers qualified to the PhD-degree level, especially at ISABU and the other government agencies.

Inequitable remuneration

Unlike their university-based counterparts, ISABU’s scientists are classified as public servants, not researchers. As a result, their salaries are much lower, creating a challenge for ISABU to attract and retain well-qualified researchers. In addition, the benefits of CAMES membership (francophone Africa’s higher education council) further attract researchers away from ISABU to universities. However, based on their academic focus, universities have much weaker linkages with farmers compared with ISABU, which focuses on applied research of relevance to the needs of producers.

Strategic resource use

Given the tremendous constraints to agricultural research agencies in Burundi, government and higher educaton agencies need to pool their scarce resources more efficiently. By collectively identifying research priorities and sharing staff and infrastructure, these agencies could create synergies in the conduct of research, ultimately generating outputs to enhance agricultural production. The government has an important role to play in this regard in terms of providing the necessary policy environment to stimulate cooperation.