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Developing local agriculture to help stave off the food crisis

Prevention
Democratic Republic of Congo

In Kasaï-Central, HI is running agroecology projects to help communities cope with the threat of a food crisis.

Preparation of vegetable growing kits as part of a food security project in Kasai province, DRC.

Preparation of vegetable growing kits as part of a food security project in Kasai province, DRC. | © HI

Helping farmers to boost their activity

More than 35% of the population of Kasai-Central province in the Democratic Republic of Congo is severely food insecure and, because of the high levels of food insecurity, malnutrition in the province is increasing. To help people cope with the situation, HI’s teams have launched agricultural recovery and food aid activities in the Dibaya area that will benefit nearly 5,500 households, or more than 32,500 individuals.

In March 2022, HI distributed vegetable growing kits to some 4,700 households. These kits contained a spade, planting hoes, a weeding hoe, a rake, a watering can and 5 bags of vegetable seeds (cabbage, okra, aubergine, tomato and amaranth).

Learning new agroecological skills

Supported by state technical services, HI teams have trained 63 “relay” farmers in good vegetable-growing practices. The training is designed to strengthen the farmers’ skills while teaching them eco-friendly farming techniques, such as growing crops without the use of chemical pesticides and producing natural fertiliser. The goal is to make agricultural activities sustainable, mainly by encouraging the use of locally available products as fertiliser, such as plant debris, ash and manure. These farmers will then relay their newly acquired knowledge to their communities and thereby transfer their skills to many more people.

Agnès Nkaya, a relay farmer in the village of Kabenguelé, recounts: “This is the first time we have had this kind of training in the village. It’s very useful because we have problems making our farmland fertile enough and with protecting our crops from pests and diseases. As part of the training, the HI teams taught us how to prepare a vegetable garden, how to recognise soil suitable for vegetable production, how to make the beds and how to plant the seeds. For me, the most interesting module was the one on natural fertilisers, especially the 7-day compost. This is the kind of knowledge we are looking for to improve our practices and production. We have all the raw materials we need in our villages but until now, we didn't know how to use them. Thanks to this training, I won’t have problems with my production anymore because I’ll make my own natural fertilisers."

“I’m well-equipped now and ready to pass on what I’ve learned to other people in my village”, explains Agnès. “This will also be an opportunity for me to improve my own grasp of these techniques. As well as sharing knowledge with us, HI has provided us with equipment - waterproofs, rubber boots, rope and logbooks - to help us when we train other people. I will make good use of it!"

GREEN Initiative: HI is committed to reducing the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable and marginalized populations worldwide. We help communities prepare for and adapt to climate shocks and stresses, and we respond to crises magnified by environmental factors. Applying a disability, gender and age (DGA) inclusion lens across all our actions, we advocate for practitioners and policy-makers to embed DGA in their climate work as well. HI is also determined to reduce its own ecological footprint by adapting and implementing environmentally conscious approaches to humanitarian action.

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