Press Release: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Announced as 14th Member of FANRPAN Network

he Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been announced as the 14th member of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). 

This was confirmed by the Board membership of FANRPAN at its Annual Regional Policy Dialogue held in Windhoek, Namibia on 2nd September 2010. The FANRPAN Board also decided to endorse an extension of FANRPAN’s potential remit to operate Africa-wide. 

Government ministries, farmers, researchers, civil society organizations and the media will comprise the new FANRPAN Node in the DRC. These include the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Rural Development, two farmers’ organisations, The Agro Veterinarian High Institute (ISAV), Hope In Action, the Micah Challenge and the Congolese Human Rights House and the Center for Dialogue for Legal and Institutional Reforms [Centre d`Echanges pour des Reformes Juridiques et Institutionnelle (CERJI)], the last of which will serve as the interim hosting institution for FANRPAN in the DRC. 

Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive of FANRPAN, says: 
“FANRPAN was set up to create a food-secure Africa which can feed itself. To do this, success stories must be understood and scaled up. The DRC, as FANRPAN’s newest National Node, will be vital in FANRPAN’s continued success to create conducive policy environments for Africa’s farmers.” 

Charles Mushizi, Coordinator of CERJI and Head of the FANRPAN node in DRC says: 
“The DRC is committed to promoting research and evidence-based policies in a number of spheres, and investing in home grown research capacity and research solutions that will meet the specific needs of the country and Africa at large.” 

An initial stakeholder workshop took place in Kinshasa, DRC from 5-6 May 2010. FANRPAN’s engagement with the DRC began as early as 2007 at the Lusaka FANRPAN Regional Annual Policy Dialogue and at the 2009 Maputo Annual Policy Dialogue.

Since 1960, agricultural production in the DRC has been declining. More than 68 per cent of the Congolese population is fed by small-scale farmers. Over 90 per cent of the 2.34 million sq km of land in the DRC is arable, an area second in the world only to Brazil in it size. Yet farmers are slow to make use of improved varieties and agricultural inputs, and their crops still suffer extensive damage caused by insects and disease. Also, only 10 per cent of agricultural land is developed and yields per hectare are low. As a result, food insecurity in 2009 still affected more than 70 per cent of the population. 


Media contact 
Michael Hoevel 
c/o Glasshouse Partnership 
+44 (0)20 7079 9220 (UK office) / +44 (0)79 6265 7322 (UK mobile) 

About CERJI 
The Center of Dialogue for Legal and Institutional Reforms [Centre d’Echanges pour des Reformes Juridiques et Institutionnelles (CERJI)] is a nonprofit organization under Congolese law, established in April 2007 and registered in May 2008. CERJI is composed of nonprofit associations and individuals, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers. Operating in nine of the eleven provinces that make up the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), CERJI has already helped to establish a coordinated policy on the protection of the rights of people living with HIV, freedom of the press, and initiating dialogue with various partners.