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Thursday, 19 August 2010

DRC Farmers Welcome Support

Farmers in the southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo are looking forward to increased production after 16 tractors and 200 ox-drawn carts were distributed across three regions in the province of Bandundu. "Bandundu Province is known predominantly for its agriculture: cassava, maize, beans, palm oil, banana, pineapple, squash, sweet potatoes, vegetables, millet, sugar cane and more, these are its main agricultural products," says Badylon Kawanda, a journalist living in Kikwit, the capital of the province. But Kawanda notes, "The population of the province lives in poverty and misery because of low productivity; farmers fields are so small, and their methods of clearing land and working the earth remain traditional." The United Nations Development Programme report for 2009 found that three in every four Bandundu farmers lives on less than a dollar a day. So Italian non-governmental organisation Impreza-Servisi-Coodinati's (ISCO) provision of agricultural equipment to farmers in the Kwilu district are a welcome development. The region is considered to be the breadbasket for the estimated eight million people living in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC. According to Willy Bitwisila, agricultural engineer and ISCO assistant project manager, "Thanks to funding from the European Union in the DRC, we are implementing projects aimed at ensuring sustainable food security and improving Congolese household incomes. "ISCO also aims to strengthen farmer organisations, support proper management of natural resources, and develop market access for farmers through improving transport conditions for agricultural products.The European Union will contribute nearly 10 million euros to food security projects in the DRC over a period of three years. This funding will help build bridges and maintain agricultural feeder roads in the agricultural region of Bandundu.

Source: Allafrica