DRC – The government of the DRC has secured a US$45.2 million loan to fund a project aimed at reducing poverty and ensuring food sovereignty in the country’s rural areas.
The project named ‘Empowerment through Nutrition-sensitive, Inclusive, and Resilient Agricultural and Rural Entrepreneurship’ (AVENIR) is co-financed by DRC and Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
It is designed to support the sustainable transformation of family farming and seeks to reach two million people in the coming seven years, with at least half of the beneficiaries being women and half being young people.
The project will mainly focus on improving natural resource management to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
It also seeks to help rural households in the provinces neighbouring Kinshasa generate higher incomes from agricultural activities while at the same time delivering a more varied diet for rural people.
Although DRC is among the African countries offering the greatest potential in terms of arable land, only 1 percent of it is currently under cultivation.
The reasons include under-investment in the agriculture sector and basic infrastructure, including roads to facilitate access to production areas and markets.
With local production lacking, more than US$2.5 billion was spent in 2019 to import much of the country’s food, including cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, and fish.
AVENIR bridges this gap by stimulating local production of agricultural products for supply to major urban markets such as the metropolis of Kinshasa with its 17 million inhabitants while lowering imports.
AVENIR is fully aligned with the DRC’s national policy on food security and nutrition, as well as IFAD’s strategic objectives, particularly with regard to nutrition.
It will be implemented from July 2023 to June 2030 in the four provinces of Kongo Central, Kwango, Kwilu and Mai-Ndombe, as well as the Kinshasa periphery.
The funding for DRC follows an earlier commitment by IFAD to make US$11.6 million available and mobilizing resources for a new US$50 million agricultural development project to help small-scale producers in Somalia cope with climate shocks and food insecurity.