ERG Africa’s self-sustaining and commercialised agricultural programmes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continue to reap rewards for its farmers and their families.
The aim of the programmes, which are managed by a cooperative of farmers in the communities and supported by ERG Africa, is to empower the communities to do more with their land and its potential by growing crops for income generation and food security.
As part of the programmes, ERG Africa equips the farmers with technical skills on an ongoing basis to improve productivity levels and profitability. In addition, ERG Africa connects the farmers to suppliers to ensure guaranteed sales.
The agriculture programme at Comide and Boss Mining
The agriculture programme at Comide and Boss Mining, which was established in 2018, has seen a year-on-year return on investment and continues to grow.
Under this approach, each farmer receives one hectare of land along with fertiliser and maize seed. Once the farmers harvests their crop, they return 1,000kg of maize or the equivalent of 25% of the harvest per hectare of maize, which is sold by the cooperative and the money is saved to fund farming inputs for the next season enabling the programme to be self-sustaining.
Statistics to date:
- 250 farmers
- 300 hectares
- 91 women planting 106 hectares
- 159 men planting 193 hectares
- 80,000 maize plants
The agriculture programme at Frontier mine
This programme, called Chawama (meaning “all is well now” in Bemba) was founded in 2021 and follows a commercialised approach, where the farmers grow crops to generate income in addition to growing crops for their families.
Under the commercialised approach, the programme includes the processing of the maize by another cooperative for milling to produce mealie meal and stock feed, which is purchased by the mine as part of its incentive programme for its employees, as well as sold to the local market.
Statistics to date:
- 40 farmers
- 100 hectares
- 12 women participating in the programme
- The programme is currently rolled out at Kimfimpa and Kabumba villages and will be extended to five other villages by the end of 2023
- A new nursery growing papaya for commercialisation was established in October 2022
“The sustainability and self-financing aspects of the project are of utmost importance,” says Damian Malilo, ERG Africa Acting Head of Safety and Occupational Health and Hygiene. “Our focus is to ensure farmers earn a steady income for their families and help maintain their harvest densities by providing ongoing education and access to farming technology.”
“We believe that we are shaping the world of tomorrow, today, and to do so, we need to ensure that our programmes remain a success story. We will continue to encourage our communities to continue to work their allocated land together – this will ensure economic empowerment and push them to take their farming further,” he added.