|Call to FANRPAN to assist DRC agric development
|31 May 2013
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wants to improve its agricultural research, partnership, and institutional capacity building development and have invited the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Network (FANRPAN) to assist.
Addressing the 5th FANRPAN High Level Food Security Partners’ meeting in Pretoria, Dr David Bugeme, Advisor in charge of Agricultural Production and Agronomic Research to the DRC Prime Minister, says 70% of the population in his country are living on less than a dollar a day.
Bugeme said his country has more than 80 million hectares of arable lands but only between 4 and 5% is being utilised and 70% of the population are involved in agricultural activities.
“Despite the number of people involved in agricultural activities, poverty, food insecurity and deficit, lack of professionals are still a challenge in improving productivity. In order to arrest this situation, His Excellency, the Prime Minister, Honourable Matata Ponyo Mapon, is championing the country’s agricultural green revolution programme. This has seen government allocating funds to support, small-scale farmers under the “Farming Campaign” programme which includes agricultural innovations, Congolese “Young” Entrepreneurs in agriculture and the involvement of universities and research centres, for the betterment of the sector,” Bugeme said.
The objectives of the programme are to increase production and improve the Congolese population livelihoods, reduce poverty and food insecurity, he added.
The government is supporting this programme through the allocation of funds to support farmers who are under the campaign as well as supporting new agricultural innovations.
“We have also started creating “Agro-Industrial Parks”, the promotion of export crops as well as improving the business climate by reviewing the agricultural policy. We are also in the process of reviewing our agricultural law and tax exemption on agricultural inputs and equipment,” he said.
The way forward, Bugeme said, is for the country to reinforce, its strong collaboration with organisations such as FANRPAN in order to improve research quality, human and institutional capacity building programmes as well as the development of exchange programmes, for all in the value chain.
“We are also encouraging potential investors to invest in DRC. From FANRPAN we request the involvement of our government in all of your activities and projects. We also request the development of “Joint Agricultural Programmes” between DRC and other FANRPAN country members,” he added.