CABI was delighted to welcome the recently appointed Burundi Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Ernest Ndabashinze, together with Ms Clotilde Ntahitangira, 2nd Counsellor of the Embassy, to CABI’s centre in Egham, Surrey on 5 July 2017.
In one of his first official visits since his appointment in March 2017, Mr Ndabashinze was welcomed by Dr Richard Shaw, UK Country Director and Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, CABI Director of Memberships. The Ambassador was interested to hear about CABI’s aims and strategy, the benefits of being a CABI member country and CABI’s flagship programme Plantwise.
A tour to the research facilities and microbial collection gave the opportunity for the visitors to learn more about CABI’s unique capabilities in invasive species management and microbial services.
Burundi is a CABI member country, having joined in 2001 and has, together with the other 47 member countries, an equal role in CABI’s mission and direction. All member countries also enjoy a number of privileges and services relating to CABI’s scientific expertise, products and resources.
Since membership, Burundi and CABI have collaborated on a number of development projects, capacity building and information access. Successful project examples include the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership, management of maize lethal necrosis disease in East and Central Africa, the Good Seed Initiative and providing toolkits to tackle invasive plants in East Africa.
His Excellency Mr Ernest Ndabashinze holding vial of Fleming’s Penicillin producing strain
Future projects in the pipeline include work on coffee value chains, which follows successfully implemented micro credit work on coffee, and a project on Fall Armyworm in which Burundi will be one of the implementing countries.
During the Ambassador’s visit Dr Julie Flood, CABI’s Global Director for Trade and Commodities, described the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership project, in which Burundi was one of 10 participating African countries, as a good example of triangular collaboration among CABI’s developed and developing member countries, with CABI playing a facilitatory role.
After the visit HE Mr Ndabashinze highlighted Burundi’s need for international support in agriculture and trade development, and expressed his country’s strong desire to strengthen partnership between the two parties:
“Burundi’s agriculture faces enormous challenges, which require concerted efforts from our national systems, with strong support from the international communities,” he said. “Our country is predominantly rural and most farmers are subsistence farmers. Organisations such as CABI have the expertise to enable us to improve the production and quality of our coffee, cotton and other crops, which are the major export commodities in Burundi today. I look forward to even greater cooperation between CABI and the Republic of Burundi, and a brighter future for agriculture in my country as a result.”