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Monday, 18 July 2011

Congo Parliament approves framework law for an agricultural policy

The Congolese parliament has approved the first framework law for the agricultural sector in Kinshasa. “A remarkable aspect is that farmers’ organisations have actively participated in the political debate which preceded the vote,” said Lode Delbare, the director of the Belgian NGO Trias. Six Belgian NGOs supported the Congolese farmers’ organisations. 70% of the Congolese population lives from agriculture; no other sector contributes as much to Congo’s GDP. The work of a farmer, however, is not considered as a real profession in Congo. “The absence of a coherent agricultural policy costs the country a lot of money, because it has to import 530.000 tons every year from abroad to feed its local population,” explains Lode Delbare. The new law on agriculture which went through parliamentary procedure is supposed to turn the situation around. Next to a cadastre and a support fund, the law establishes consultation bodies for agricultural questions. […] The law only say the day because the farmers organised themselves at the political level and kept up the pressure,” confirms Jan Aertsen, Congo specialist at Vredeseilanden. For the first time in Congo’s history, a lobby group made of farmers’ organisations established itself in Kinshasa to follow the entire process. Agricongo, a platform of Congolese farmers organisations was supported by six Belgian NGOs (Trias, Vredeseilanden, SOS Faim, Solsoc, Oxfam Solidarité and Diobass).Thanks to the financial support of these NGOs, AgriCongo has been able to fund a farmers’ lobby in Kinshasa. “The issue now is to allow this permantent representation of farmers’ organisations to take up a clear structure.This gives the farmers’ organisations a permanent lever in the capital in order to improve the fate of farmer families,” concludes Aertsen.

Source: Dimension3