News from date Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 10:38

Investment in agricultural opportunities in DRC

Investment in economic development means creating income-generating opportunities for the Congolese people. This is the fastest and most sustainable way to lift citizens out of the cycle of poverty and offers tremendous potential for increasing stability in the region and opens doors to improved health, education and a more just society.

Specifically, investment in agricultural opportunity is crucial for the development of the DRC. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI),

“In a country where food is still a challenge for most citizens, agriculture employs 70% of the working population. Agriculture must play the leading role in the development of this country, because no other sector can provide as much manpower today.”[1]

Growth in the agricultural sector can revolutionize local communities and in the aggregate, the vibrancy of the economy in the region. Research has shown that alongside education, agriculture forms the foundation of most post-conflict economies. Small investments in capacity building for farmers with crops in demand in turn stimulates demand for goods and workers while at the same time reducing and stabilizing the price of food.

Agriculture will be a catalyst for stability and progress, however a balance is needed to address one of the biggest issues facing rural farmers: food security. Staple and domestic crops must grow alongside cash crops: this will increase income while decreasing food insecurity. The DRC has been rated one of the most food insecure countries in the world. It was once considered the breadbasket of Central Africa, but as a result of 15 years of war and insecurity nearly all cash crop plantations have either been destroyed or overgrown. Today, farmers are struggling to return what’s left of them to their former production levels.