In the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 5,000 farmers in the city of Bunkeya, almost 200 km from Lubumbashi, would like to see their production double or triple and thus allow the country to reduce its rice imports. They are now grouped in a cooperative society that intends to promote a mechanized culture.
From our correspondent in Lubumbashi,
In the city of Bunkeya in the kingdom of M’Siri, rice cultivation is the most important of all. Each household has at least one rice field.
His pick in his hand, Moïse Kinsenda, in the sixties, takes us to visit his field 5 kilometers from the village on a plain as far as the eye can see. From where there is the mango tree to where you see this bush, it is my field. I have 36 hectares. We are already preparing the ground, he says. To then continue, “Look, we burned before we started plowing. From October we start so. But we grow manually we can not use large spaces. One year I only cultivate two or three hectares “, he says while working on his farm.
Hundreds of hectares of underutilized rice cultivation are a source of income for most households in Bunkeya, explains Moïse Kinsenda. “There are fewer and fewer maize fields here, because it is a food crop. Rice cultivation is profitable and provides resources for building houses, clothes and educating children. There, for example, each farmer saves by reserving 4 or 5 bags of rice, ”the farmer explains.
Bunkeya has several hundred hectares of arable land. But space is underutilized. Jean-Claude Kafuku, another rice grower who is plowing 10 hectares, is calling for state aid. “To strengthen production, we must financially support the population with machines and tractors. We will then be able to produce a lot of rice, deliver to all the big cities and we will not have to import rice from abroad, Jean Claude Kafuku hopes.
Grouping together in a cooperative for more resources A first solution has just been proposed for these farmers: to group them in a cooperative society called Numba Ya Mabale and then provide them with means of production. “It’s this year that the manager acquired 14 agricultural tractors that will be made available to farmers and give a boost to social marketing, because the potential is there,” explains Mwami Nguba, a member of the Cooperative board.
In addition to the members’ production, the Numba Ya Mabale cooperative plans to use at least 100 hectares this season and alone produce about 400 tonnes of rice.