Burundi: Tomato Firm Brings Hope
A US $3million project has been drawn up to start a tomato paste company in Bujumbura by the end of this year.
The project, J.L Limited (John Leopold Limited) comprises 20 local organisations growing rice and tomatoes. Burundi lacks locally made tomato preserving technology.
Tomatoes are grown all over the territory, especially in Imbo plains, in the valleys, plateaus and in the rice fields and are harvested throughout the year.
"I told Belgian experts who are coming to endorse the project implementation that tomatoes are widely grown both in the dry and rainy season. I convinced them about the importance of the project by briefly explaining how useful tomatoes are, and showing them evidence of production," Mr John Leopold Nzobonimpa told East African Business Week.
In Burundi, 250 tones of tomatoes are produced daily.
Other key tomato growing areas are; Cibitoke province (150 tones), Bubanza province (120 tones); Ruyigi (100 tones); Bururi (50 tones); Makamba province (75 tones) and other areas (25 tones).
The project is been highly billed with the Bujumbura government said to be backing it.
Economy, Business and Finance
The head of state Mr. Peirre Nkurunziza is reported to have pledged to support the tomato growers recently in an address at Cibitoke province.
Research conducted by scholars from the California Tomato Growers Institute in 1997 indicate that Burundi is an exponential basin for tomato growing competing with the Mediterranean region which is also known to be favourable to tomatoes.
The French Ambassador to Burundi recently told the Burundi National Television that he was ready to support the project. For a country just recovering from over 10 years of a civil war, the company is one of the gateways to recovery.