Communal farm land for the Batwa 🌽

Historicly, the Batwa have nomadic hunter gatherers.  However, over the last century, Burundi’s population density as grown so much that it has been dangerous to life and limb for the Batwa to continue their traditional lifestyle.  In addition, virtually every inch of Burundi’s territory is privately owned, meaning that as hunter gatherers, the Batwa were constantly trespassing.  They were often accused of being cattle and goat rustlers because they would hunt other people’s livestock.  This forced the Batwa to settle into village life.  The government has reluctantly helped with this settlement process by giving Batwa areas of land to set up their villages.  However, the land the government gives the Batwa is almost always situated on the sides of unstable mountains where the soil is poor and water is hard to come by.  Gahararo is no different.  The crops grown by each Batwa family are almost always paltry and sickly and obviously do not produce enough caloric and nutritional content to sustain human life.

We have been talking for several years about helping the Batwa of Gahararo purchase fertile land near the village that they can farm cooperatively.  We are hoping this will be the year to finally make this happen.  Our partner in Burundi, Harvest Initiatives, is in the process of negotiating with several nearby landowners.  We have been told that a plot of 2-4 hectares (approximately 10 acres) will cost on the order of $20,000.  The villagers have already formed a committee to discuss how the cooperative will be organized and operated.  We would like to be able to purchase land this year.



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