Created in April 2021 by the Head of State, the Economic Empowerment and Youth Employment Program (PAEEJ) promises to finance the first projects of young people before July 1. Most of the young people who have submitted their projects are impatient. And there are innovative projects, like raising maggots to feed fish, chickens and pigs.
“We are still waiting for funding. We built piglets for piglets,” said innocent Nkurunziza, a young man from Ruhororo commune whom he met in the provincial capital of Ngozi on Thursday 19 May.
According to him, his cooperative has already been chosen by the PAEEJ, but says he does not know the date of funding. “We just expect”.
For him, there is no question of despair, the funding will eventually fall. “The PAEJ seems to ignore that it has to do with young people who do not have the means” , he regrets.
“To get together, we should contribute a sum of 5,000 BIF, but some could not have it to be among us”, testifies Mr. Nkurunziza.
An idea supported by Honoré Nduwimana, president of the national youth council in the commune of Ngozi. The latter, who closely follows the activities of PAEEJ in his commune, points out that tree trunks and planks to build piggeries have been a headache for unemployed young people.
“This requires at least one million BIF to build a pigsty of 2.5 by 50 m for the piglets” , he said, recalling that Ngozi chose pig breeding except the Shikiro district of the city of Ngozi. with a Muslim majority who refused to raise pigs in favor of raising chickens.
Out of patience
Obtaining land to develop the barns was also, according to him, a real challenge. Nevertheless, he recognizes that the young people were able to get by so that they only expect materials from the PAEEJ: sand, gravel, cement, etc.
What bothers this young leader in Ngozi commune is that the young people do not know when exactly these materials will be distributed. “No one is well informed about this, or when the funding will be available.”
Honoré Nduwimana fears that the pigsties could fall into disrepair without having sheltered pigs when they have cost young unemployed people dearly . “Some even got into debt.”
He would like the materials to arrive without delay and the financing to follow so that the barns and other henhouses built on credit do not collapse.
Wilbert Dusabe, a young farmer from Kibogoye in the commune of Giheta, has submitted his project to the PAEEJ, he is waiting without despair for his funding.
Trained to teach others about modern chicken farming, he encourages the groups of young people chosen to benefit from PAEEJ funding to be patient.
“An entrepreneur is someone who knows how to be patient”. He also confides that Giheta was the first municipality to prepare for funding, but had to wait for the others who are not yet ready.
Otherwise, he said, the young people of Giheta were trained at the end of March and the beginning of April 2022. This young farmer established on nearly one hectare includes the PAEEJ which does not yet have sufficient staff. With recruitment underway at the PAEEJ, he hopes that this program will be able to follow up on young people soon.
401 projects already accepted on the hills
“For the young people of the hills so far, the projects of 401 cooperatives in the provinces of Gitega, Bururi, Mwaro, Kayanza and Ngozi have been accepted ,” said Désiré Manirakiza, national coordinator of the Economic Empowerment and Youth Employment Program.
For successful young entrepreneurs, he says 29 projects were accepted. “And then we have 16 projects for the beginners category,” continues the PAEEJ coordinator.
From Monday, May 23, two young people per cooperative, association or company whose project has been accepted have followed “training sessions on the techniques of creation, management, expansion, but also business management”.
The training, says Désiré Manirakiza, also aims to make young people understand the meaning of the PAEEJ, its objectives and the performance objectives it seeks behind the projects it finances.
The training saw the participation of more or less 100 young people. After the training, reassures the PAEEJ coordinator, the funds will be released for successful young entrepreneurs.
Désiré Manirakiza recommends patience. To those who think that PAEEJ funding is dragging on, he believes that they should wait and trust PAEEJ. “Nobody wants to sleep with projects that have been selected”.
According to him, it is unfortunate that most young people think or feel that others do absolutely nothing when a job does not concern them directly.
However, he points out, these periods were marked by the lack of personnel at the PAEEJ. “Thank God the recruitment process is underway, this will be resolved ,” he rejoiced.
The PAEEJ knows that among the young people who have submitted their files in the agri-food sector there are those who have finished building henhouses and piggeries.
But for him, this is not the biggest problem. The hardest thing, according to him, is to make sure that there is, for example, a food supplier. “It’s so that we don’t launch a project that will become a problem immediately afterwards”.
According to him, the young people whose cooperative is eligible for funding want to have chicks or piglets, but where they are found is not their problem. Nevertheless, he still regrets that the 4 provinces which have decided to raise pigs need 8,000 piglets while Isabu and its approved partners can only cover 1,500 piglets. “It’s a concern. »
But, reassures the PAEEJ coordinator, the program is awaiting public procurement procedures. He also reassures that the Independence Day of July 1, 2022 cannot happen without the first projects financed by the PAEEJ being launched. It encourages young people to do innovative projects.
A young maggot breeder testifies
“Projects that are not innovative are automatically rejected,” warns the PAEEJ national coordinator. Those who look like those funded by this program are not welcome. “What reason could justify the financing of pig farming when 900 cooperatives are going to raise pigs? asks Mr. Manirakiza .
It offers at least the breeding of bees, the cultivation of mushrooms, earthworms… which do not have enough candidates. But, he laments, young Burundians refuse to innovate. “I said in April that we could finance a project related to earthworms, they called me names”.
For Désiré Manirakiza, young Burundians like all Burundians should know that what they do not know is not that it does not exist. “They have to trust those who can be their big brother and who can teach them something else,” insists this sociologist by training.
For him, raising earthworms is a solution for feeding chickens, fish and pigs. Because, he points out, when a hen sees an earthworm the first reaction is to jump on it. “Can the pig pass near a garbage can without sticking its nose in it? At the line what does the fisherman put on the hook? Isn’t it the earthworm? », Asks the PAAEJ coordinator again.
According to him, earthworms, locusts, cockroaches, maggots are natural elements in the diet of fish, chickens and pigs. “Since there is more land to grow wheat, corn, soybeans and other sources of protein, it is better to look for other sources.”
The PAEEJ reassures the Burundians who are reluctant to eat animals that feed on this kind of food: “The chickens that they already eat regularly feed on earthworms that they peck anywhere.”
And to announce, moreover, a project to set up a maggot production center in Mwaro province. “The type of wild flies for the production of these maggots will be imported from Kenya.”
Wilbert Dusabe, the young farmer from Kibogoye, is already farming maggots to feed his fish and pigs, which he raises before selling them.
He is full of praise for the benefits of this type of farming, which he says is practiced even in countries in the sub-region, such as Kenya and Uganda. “Where you can use 100 kilos of soy to feed animals, you can use 20 kilos of maggots”, testifies Wilbert Dusabe.
According to this owner of the Kibogoye Farmer’s House, apart from the cost of labor equipment, everything else is almost free. Knowing that the kilo of soy is currently bought at 3,000 BIF, he affirms that the breeding of maggots allows him to minimize expenses in the purchase of fish feed for chickens and pigs.
Dusabe reports that he manages to produce 270 kg of maggots per week. “45% of the food my fish eat comes from maggots” . He does not understand why Burundians are reluctant to engage in the breeding of fly larvae, earthworms, cockroaches… whereas in developed countries in Europe, it is practiced on an industrial scale.
Wilbert Dusabe, like Désire Manirakiza, deplores, moreover, the fact that the President of the Republic was criticized on social networks when he mentioned these types of farms, during his press conference on May 10, 2022 For them, those who criticized him do not want to make any effort to explore other possibilities.
Source: IWACU Burundi