June-July 2009 Update: Artemisia Project

A trip was made to Burundi between June and July 2009 to monitor  areas selected for the cultivation of the artemisia annua plant and to redefine some project elements. The University of L’Aquila, our scientific partner in the project, assessed the quality and quantity of the principle active substance in the plants grown in the country. Disruptions have occurred, due to the earthquake, which reluctantly, have reduced, temporarily, the effectiveness of on-going trials. For this reason, a new way to control the cultivation has been organized. Although the plantations of artemisia annua placed in other areas continue to be maintained, the main crop, localized in the region of Mutoyi in the centre of Burundi on a plateau situated at about 2000 metres above sea level, is supported by Vispe Milan (Italian Volunteers for Solidarity to Emerging Countries). This mission has been active in Burundi since 1977 and their cultivation will be referred to the University of L’Aquila for the analysis. A new plantation in Mutoyi has been established and  a number of favourable findings have made this possible. It has now been proven that elements such as altitude and climate are the most important in producing plants with good percentages of active ingredients. In regard to the organizational and managerial aspects of this plantation, the Mission Mutoyi has established a cooperative agreement with a local farmer, who has worked for many years in the production and distribution of fruit and vegetables for the entire country. The cooperative will undertake the task of monitoring the growth and maintenance of the new plantation, the most significant centre of production. The decision to work closely with an accredited agricultural cooperative in Burundi realizes one of the Foundation’s most important aims, to actively help develop and engage the local populations and therefore create a positive economic impact for the area.

 

Paolo Monti

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