DRC – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has launched the “Cassava Value Chain Development Project”, an initiative aimed at reducing the cost of production of bread and wheat imports.

With a total cost of $6.5 million, this program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be implemented over the period 2023-2027 in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). 

Désire Nzinga Birihanze, Minister of Agriculture graced the launching ceremony in Kinshasa on November 2.

For the Congolese Minister of Agriculture, cassava is central to the government’s efforts to develop the agro-industrial sector and broaden the economic base to help achieve its development objectives.

Interventions will focus on promoting the use of cassava flour in breadmaking and pastries.

According to executives, this aligns with the ambitions of the executive which wishes to substitute 10 to 20% of the wheat flour used in baking with cassava bread flour with a view to reducing the cost of production of bread and wheat imports.

According to official data, the country’s bill linked to cereal purchases on the international market amounts to an average of US$87 million each year. In the DRC, cassava production reached 45.6 million tonnes in 2021, according to data from the country’s Central Bank (BCC).

The DRC is the second African producer of cassava after Nigeria. In the country, the tuber is the main staple food consumed and an essential agricultural product for value creation in rural areas. 

However, the cassava value chain in the DRC has not yet reached its full potential in its resilience to climate change, high temperatures, and poor soils.

As the main crop with great potential for industrialization, in order to reap its full benefits in the future, the project seeks to improve its value chain by building the capacities of the players involved and rationalizing its exploitation to create opportunities.

“This project will improve the functioning of the cassava value chain with interventions at each link such as the supply of inputs and seeds, root production techniques, processing, quality standards, and the business environment,” read the statement.

In addition, the project plans to adopt an integrated approach to address low cassava yields by combining best agricultural practices.

The project exemplifies USAID’s commitment to improved food security and economic growth in the DRC.

Working closely with farmers and stakeholders in the cassava sector, the project aims to stimulate economic growth, increase employment opportunities, and improve the livelihoods of the Congolese populace.