Incredible: Farmer in Burundi discovers an innovative method of storing tomatoes and preventing spoilage!

Mr. Nduwimana, a farmer in Burundi, demonstrates a new method he discovered for storing tomatoes and preventing spoilage

Incredible: Farmer in Burundi discovers an innovative method of storing tomatoes and preventing spoilage!

Vital Nduwimana hated how many tomatoes he lost every season. For years, his tomatoes started rotting just three or four days after harvest. He felt frustrated.


Mr. Nduwimana explains: “I was not able to sell all my tomatoes; I lost almost half of my production. Worse still, I would sell at a low price in the market. So in 2015, I thought that maybe I should find a tomato conservation technique.”


Mr. Nduwimana grows tomatoes in eastern Burundi, on Kabuyenge hill, five kilometres from the Tanzanian border.


In eastern Burundi, tomatoes are abundant during the harvest months of August and September. But growers find it difficult to keep tomatoes for later sale, which leads to a large number of tomatoes rotting.


Mr. Nduwimana tried several techniques to solve his problem. He tried storing his tomatoes in water, in clay, underground, in cartons, and even in sand. He tried everything that came to his mind—but without success.


Then one day, he noticed that the tomatoes he had kept next to his banana trees were not rotten. Then he noticed the ash at the foot of the banana trees.


He decided to try keeping his tomatoes in ash and found that this was more effective than any of the other techniques he had tried.


He uses ash from a chimney, and sifts it three or four times to remove large residues, debris, and other foreign materials. Then, he dumps the ash into a paper carton and places the tomatoes in the carton. With this technique, Mr. Nduwimana manages to safely store his tomatoes for many months.


He explains: “I keep my tomatoes in the ash for a period of five to six months, so I can sell them in December, January, or February when the price has risen—since tomatoes are rare and become expensive during this period.“


Jean Nivyabandi is an agronomist. He says using ash has no negative effect on the tomatoes, which can be consumed safely. He explains, “There is no risk of tomato toxicity after storage in ash.”


Nevertheless, the agronomist wants the Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi to conduct tests to scientifically validate Mr. Nduwimana’s technique.


Meanwhile, other tomato growers in Cibitoke—the main tomato-producing region of Burundi— have been inspired to try the techniques themselves.

Judith Bizmana also grows tomatoes in Cibitoke. She says: “I can normally harvest between 550 and 600 kilograms of tomatoes per season. But … I would lose nearly half of my production.


Today, I rub my hands and smile all the time. Thanks to Mr. Nduwimana’s technique, I can keep my tomatoes [and] wait for the price to rise in the market, knowing that very few of them will rot.”


Meanwhile, the innovative farmer has changed his life. Mr. Nduwimana says: “With the income from the sale of tomatoes, I opened a small restaurant and I am a permanent supplier of tomatoes to restaurants in the provincial capital. I supply the whole market, and I have created jobs, too.


My whole life has changed. In the future, I plan to buy a truck to transport my tomatoes.”


Mr. Nduwimana has become an ambitious entrepreneur. In July 2016, he even won an innovation competition organized by an NGO called Agakura.



This article was originally published by Farm Radio International.

Kunlere Idowu

Kunlere is an environment and sustainable development strategist with years of active experience in environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement. You may follow him on Twitter via @kunlere_idowu



  1. Olasanmi Bunmi 9 months ago January 11, 2017

    I am happy this farmer who discovered the technology was given recognition. In other places he would have been brushed aside and a big Scientist would have started rolling out papers and manuals on the technology.

    • Kunlere Idowu 9 months ago January 11, 2017

      Thank you Olasanmi Bunmi. One of our commitments at is to address the issues you raised by publicising such innovations and helping to spread the knowledge of the good works of men like Nduwimana.

      Together, we will do even better. Cheers

    • Kunlere Idowu 9 months ago January 20, 2017

      Thank you for your comment.
      We are committed to making sure that honour is given to whom it is due, everyone deserves their due.
      All hands must be on deck.

  2. Inoussa Maiga 8 months ago February 18, 2017

    At least you can put the name of the journalist “JEAN DE DIEU ININAHAZWE”.

    • Kunlere Idowu 8 months ago February 19, 2017

      Hello Inoussa Maiga,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As is our policy, we always credit at the end of the news articles featured on our site, the original source (news outlet) of each story.

      We did that for this particular story too and credited the source…

      That said, Mr. Jean de Dieu Ininahazwe has our highest esteem for his excellent work at the “source”.

      Thank you.

  3. RemonaX 2 months ago August 16, 2017

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    • Kunlere Idowu 1 month ago September 6, 2017

      Thank you so much, RemonaX.

      We should talk more about that. Please, contact us at Cheers

  4. Gokul Kandel 2 weeks ago October 2, 2017

    Its a good innovation but I feel if it could be possible at large scale or not sir?

    • Kunlere Idowu 2 weeks ago October 2, 2017

      Yes, it is a good innovation.

      And of course yes, it is possible on a large scale!


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