CABI this week further strengthened relations with Burundi by welcoming its Minister for Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, His Excellency Dr Deo-Guide Rurema as well as the country’s Ambassador to the UK His Excellency Mr Ernest Ndabashinze.

The distinguished guests were both met by Chief Commercial Officer Ms Carol McNamara, Dr Andrew Robinson, Managing Director, Publishing, Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Director, Memberships and Dr Rob Reeder, Plantwise Data Manager, at CABI’s headquarters in Wallingford, UK.

Ms McNamara gave an overview of CABI’s progress towards its Medium Term Strategy 2017-2019 and contribution to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Dr Robinson highlighted CABI’s recent achievements in publishing such as the upgraded Invasive Species Compendium while Dr Zhang described the important roles of member countries in CABI’s governance, the significant membership benefits, as well as CABI’s activities and plans in Burundi.

Burundi is a CABI member country, having joined in 2001. All 49 member countries have an equal role in CABI’s mission and direction, in addition to enjoying a number of privileges and services relating to CABI’s scientific expertise, products and resources.

HE Dr Rurema and HE Mr Ndabashinze received an update from Dr Reeder on the CABI-led global Plantwise programme which helps farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems. The programme works closely with national advisory services to establish and support sustainable networks of plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice.

Ms McNamara said, ‘We were delighted to welcome His Excellency Dr Rurema and His Excellency Mr Ndabashinze as distinguished representatives of Burundi – one of CABI’s growing list of member countries – to hear first-hand about CABI’s contribution to the SDGs and details of CABI’s work in Burundi and throughout the African continent.

‘We found the opportunity to further explore the prospect of introducing plant clinics to Burundi as particularly beneficial. The visit was also a great time to highlight the value of CABI’s ever expanding range of publishing products – which serve as respected world-class platforms to disseminate information and the latest research in agriculture and the environment.’

A delegation from Burundi, including HE Mr Ndabashinze, last paid a visit to CABI in 2017 when a tour of the Egham centre 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. CABI also met with officials in Burundi in July this year to further explore the prospect of the country benefiting from the Plantwise programme.

HE Dr Deo-Guide Rurema, said, ‘As a trained entomologist, and still active in teaching as a university professor, I am familiar with CABI’s publications and biological control work.

‘Ninety percent of Burundi’s population rely on agriculture, with most of them being small-holder farmers growing key crops like maize, wheats and potato as well as horticulture crops. To enable production of safe, nutritious and high-quality food for domestic consumption as well as export, capacity building, and knowledge,  the technology transfer of Good Agricultural Practices in my country from organisations like CABI are crucial.

‘With a widened remit of my Ministry, combining environment, agriculture and livestock together, I believe that the prospects of our further collaboration are good, and that the Plantwise programme will no doubt contribute to our shared endeavour in achieving the SDGs.’

Dr Zhang said, ‘Since accession to CABI in 2001, Burundi and CABI have collaborated on development projects, capacity building, and knowledge management 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.

‘Future projects being considered include Plantwise implementation, work on community-based pest monitoring (especially the fall armyworm) as well as work on coffee value chains which follows successfully implemented micro credit work on the commodity crop.’

Additional information

Find out more about Plantwise at

Read more about the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership.

Read about His Excellency Mr Ernest Ndabashinze’s visit, together with Ms Clotilde Ntahitangira, 2nd Counsellor of the Embassy, to CABI’s centre in Egham, Surrey on 5 July 2017 here.

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