Coffee farming plays a vital role in the Burundian economy. It is the main industry and export product of the country and provides important income for the roughly 600,000 families (about 40% of the population) who grow it. Reforms of the coffee sector have continued with greater deregulation and privatization, but this process takes places in a specific political and economic context: on the one hand there is a new democratically elected government and generalized poverty which has been aggravated by 10 years of civil war. On the other hand there is a turmoil of diverging interests which will only intensify as reforms proceed. Meanwhile, the movement of coffee growers claims ownership over coffee production and thus seeks control over a good part of the state’s shares in the sector, as well as active participation in all decisions concerning the sector. Faced with this issue, International Alert wishes to contribute to the debate and to propose solutions that will allow the reforms to proceed in a way that serves the common interest of all the players involved. The ultimate aim of the report is to contribute to the prevention of conflicts that could arise in connection with the reforms.
- Author(s):Jean-Paul Kimonyo
- Date:February 2007