The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is located in Central Africa, bordered by Angola to its southwest. DRC’s total land area is 2,344,858 sq km, making the country the 12th-largest in the world. In comparison, it is slightly larger than Greenland, or about one-quarter the size of the United States. The country’s climate is tropical, ranging from hot and humid in the equatorial river basin to cool and dry in the southern highlands. The country has two wet seasons: one north of the Equator, April through October; and one south of the Equator, November through March. Of the total land area, only three percent is utilized for cultivated crops, while no measurable amount of the total land supports permanent crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees. The DRC’s population is approximately 68.7 million, and though exact numbers are not available, it is estimated that the majority of the labor force is involved in mining and agriculture. Economically, a conflict that began in 1998 dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, and increased external debt. In 2002, conditions began to improve and the DRC reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors. In 2009, it signed a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is expected to refocus its efforts to build GDP and seek new economic opportunities. Today, the country depends heavily on the export of mined raw materials such as diamonds, gold and copper as primary support to the economy. Agricultural products in DRC include coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava, bananas, root crops, maize, fruits and wood products. The East and Southern Africa Division is responsible for IFDC activities in DRC.
Current IFDC Projects in DRC
- CATALIST-2, 2012-2016
This project follows the CATALIST project (2007-2012), which focused on increasing agricultural productivity per land unit. CATALIST-2 builds on CATALIST activities in Burundi, Rwanda and the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also continues to promote agribusiness clusters and market integration, assisting 700,000 smallholder farmers to increase their incomes by 50 percent by project end. Support is provided by the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University and Research Centre, which is developing improved germplasm (seed genetics) to enhance crop yields and product quality.
DONOR: The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda
- Sustainable Energy Production Through Woodlots and Agroforestry (SEW), 2009-2013
More than 90 percent of household energy in Central Africa’s Great Lakes Region is derived from biomass, contributing to rapid deforestation. SEW promotes sustainable energy production through reforestation and the development of wood fuel and charcoal value chains. The project also aims to decrease competition for land use between the energy and agricultural sectors by increasing wood production, agricultural productivity and incomes. The project is focused in Burundi, the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
DONOR: Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Recent IFDC Projects in DRC
- Catalyze Accelerated Agricultural Intensification for Social and Environmental Stability (CATALIST), 2006-2012
CATALIST worked to increase food security, reduce poverty, improve regional collaboration and foster peace and security in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. The project enabled farmers to increase their crop production and incomes through an integrated approach combining sustainable agricultural intensification technologies with farm-to-market linkages, agroforestry and infrastructure construction.
- Strengthening Trade at the Regional Level in Agricultural Inputs in Africa (STAR), 2007-2010
The STAR project promoted food security and agricultural growth through improved regional trade along eastern and southern Africa’s entire agricultural vale chain. The project improved market access for agro-dealers and smallholder farmers. This included better access to quality inputs and advanced technologies along with improved market linkages, local and regional agricultural policy reforms and greater involvement of agricultural enterprises.
DONOR: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
IFDC Core Competency: Gender Equity is Key to Feeding the Hungry (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 36, No. 4)
Improving Charcoal Production (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No. 4)
CATALIST Project Marks Accomplishment in 2009(Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No. 1)
CATALIST Road Rehabilitation: An IFDC/Helpage Partnership (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No. 1)
Television News Coverage - Signing of MoU (English)
Television News Coverage - Signing of MoU (French)
News Coverage - Signing of MoU (Kinyarwanda)
Inventory Credit System - English Captions
Inventory Credit System - French Captions