IFAD’s President visits the Democratic Republic of Congo

IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s President of the
Chamber of Deputies, Aubin Minaku - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
IFAD has supported rural development initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) since 1980, although civil conflict interrupted its operations there for more than a decade. From 1980 to 1991, and from 2004 to the present, 476,000 households have benefited from seven IFAD-funded programmes with a total cost of US$263.6 million. In DR Congo aims to reduce food insecurity by contributing to economic development – including the creation of income opportunities for rural women and young people in agriculture and related employment. At the moment two IFAD-financed projects are on-going in DR Congo, whereas one is in the final stage of design (PASA-NK). 

IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s Minister of Agricuture,
Livestock and Fishery, Isidore Kabwe Mwehu Longo - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
From 16 to 20 July 2015, IFAD’s President, Mr. Nwanze, visited DR Congo. The President met with the representatives of the Government, the Parliament and farmers’ organisations. Mr. Nwanze and his interlocutors recognized the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security in DR Congo. Strong links to markets for poor rural producers are essential to increasing agricultural production, generating economic growth in rural areas and reducing hunger and poverty. Improving these links creates a virtuous circle by boosting productivity, increasing incomes and strengthening food security. The President stressed the importance of working with poor rural women and men to help them access value chains that offer opportunities for them as producers, non-farm entrepreneurs and wage workers and  supporting them in capturing a larger share of the value added along the chain.
Vegetable garden in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui

Mr. Nwanze highlighted the need to reform the agricultural sector in DR Congo to capitalize on DR Congo’s rich potential. This reform requires leadership, governance and accountability. In a country where food is still a challenge for most citizens, agriculture employs 64% of the working population. The president therefore stressed that agriculture must play the leading role in the development of this country, because no other sector can provide as much manpower today. 

IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze with Julienne Mankéla,
successful farmer in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
After the meetings in Kinshasa, the President travelled to the implementation area of the Kinshasa Food Supply Centres Support Programme (PAPAKIN). The programme aims to improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in the western part of DR Congo. It is being implemented in the peri-urban area of Kinshasa and 14 targeted sectors of Kwilu district in Bandundu Province. Specifically, the goal of PAPAKIN is to expand the production of vegetable gardens and staple food crops, as well as their supply to urban markets. The programme supports community-based producers' organizations, helping them improve their management and provide their members with technical services for the production, processing and marketing of cassava, grain legume, Tenera palm and garden vegetables. All of these crops have strong potential in terms of both improving productivity and taking advantage of market opportunities.