How badly is Nkurunziza’s food ban to Rwanda hurting Burundi?

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Burundi’s ongoing ban of food export to Rwanda, which President Pierre Nkurunziza put into effect a week ago, has created a “ripple effect” in his country. Local farmers in Cibitoke say that perhaps the country hit by the ban is Burundi itself.

According to Xinhua the measure taken by the Burundian government affects sellers and growers of several fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, onions and eggplants

“I grow and sell tomatoes, onions and other vegetables in Rwanda. My tomatoes are getting rotten in fields because we are not allowed to sell any food items in Rwanda,” said Generose Nisabwe.

“The Burundian government should suspend this measure because most of people living near the border with Rwanda sell their food products in Rwanda,” added Nisabwe.

A grower of eggplants indicated that prices have fallen badly.

“A bag of eggplants that was purchased at 12,000 Burundi francs (7.13 U.S. dollars) is now purchased only at 2,000. As the new school year is starting next month, we will not be able to send our children to school because we will not be able to buy school uniforms, school materials and school fees,” said Raphael Berahino.

They indicated that they had sought loans to grow fruits and vegetables, and complained that they will not be able to reimburse loans.

On Thursday last week, the Burundian government decided to restrict traffic on the border between Burundi and Rwanda.

Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said the ban on exporting food items was “just an implementation” of a measure taken by the Burundian government to protect the national food production”.

The measure also restricts the traffic of travelers between the two countries.

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have deteriorated after Burundi accused Rwanda of hosting and supporting perpetrators of the May 13, 2015 coup plot against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Rwanda says Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term violates the 2000 Arusha Agreement and the Burundian constitution.

Agencies                   

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