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news | July 26, 2016 | Rep. Congo | Development

Local produce in school canteens in Bouenza to relaunch agriculture

ACTED appuie les petits producteurs de la Bouenza - ACTED Congo, 2016

ACTED is leading a pilot project to support small-scale farms in the Bouenza Department, south of the Republic of the Congo, in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP).

The fight against famine and food insecurity are significant challenges in Congo, where the agricultural sector is underdeveloped, and 70% of food products are imported. With this project, ACTED and WFP aim to promote supplying school canteens with local produce, at the same time reinforcing food security in the region.

ACTED and WFP put in place the pilot project to refuel school canteens that are under the management of WFP with local produce from the districts of Madingou and Kayes of Bouenza Department. The program’s objective is to contribute in reinforcing the technical capacities of farmers in the different districts of Bouenza, and to increase their production and income through the opportunity of supplying school canteens.

Long-term support for small-scale farms in Bouenza

Since 2015, ACTED Congo has been involved in support activities to commercialize the produce of small-scale farms in Bouenza. In a context where few agricultural products reach the market, ACTED provides local producers with information on market prices and management committees’ structures, as well as logistical production support. ACTED also provides management and marketing training, transport solutions and financial support for micro-scale projects.

Relying on a community-based approach, where beneficiaries themselves drive their own development and define their own operation mode, the project allows to reinforce economic activity and production. It also structures the agricultural sector in a way where it becomes more reliant on local production. This would add value to the local agricultural sector, which is currently affected by the strong competition of imported products.

ACTED is then operating on two scales. On a local level, it is reinforcing the agricultural production sector in two districts within the Bouenza Department and providing a local, stable output ready for for the market. With that, it is also strengthening food security. On a regional level, it is facilitating the circulation of agricultural produce toward urban centers while contributing to the diversification of the country’s economy. The pilot project with WFP will continue until the harvest period in October and aims to be eventually extended to cover the entire country.