The goal of the Agri-business Incubation Network programme is to establish a network of agribusiness incubation centres in rural areas in Burundi. It contains services for potential agribusiness entrepreneurs and existing agribusinesses to enable them to innovate, add value, increase production and access new markets. Agribusiness incubation can accelerate the commercialisation and modernisation of agriculture and lead to the development of a competitive agribusiness sector in Burundi.
ABIN has been designed to bridge the gap between the urban based incubation systems and reach out to marginalised groups in the countryside to help them start agri-businesses in order to improve their livelihoods. It has a specific emphasis on women and youth, notably those that do not own land (e.g, IDPs, returnees, widows and unmarried women). The rural incubators are a first step to decentralize the process of incubation throughout Burundi. The centres are specialised in business planning and agriculture value chain development as well as providing market access for farmers.
According to the World Bank, “the potential of agricultural growth to reduce poverty is four times greater than the potential of growth from other sectors”.
The creation of a competitive indigenous agribusiness sector requires an effective innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that enables the start-up and growth of innovative enterprises. Good infrastructure, effective policies and regulations and access to appropriate financing are critical enablers. In addition, access to and adoption of innovation along with entrepreneurial skills will be critical to advancing the sector.
Agriculture, the main engine of economic development, is underdeveloped and business development organisations and (state) agencies that should stimulate growth are insufficiently equipped to do so. Agricultural production and processing stays behind with demographic developments, leading to food insecurity, as well as extreme poverty, especially for the most vulnerable groups. Agribusiness incubation can accelerate the commercialisation and modernisation of agriculture; this can lead to the development of a competitive agribusiness sector in Burundi. This project on business incubation and entrepreneurship development has been designed as a contribution to some of Burundi’s most pressing concerns: food security and poverty alleviation.