Linking Remote Smallholder Farmers to Markets in DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has enormous untapped potential for domestic food production due to its large quantity of underutilized arable land, generally good weather and soil, and agro-climatology that permits several growing seasons. But the cultivation is constrained by weak regulatory frameworks, the limited reach of government policies and resources, obsolete technology, the absence of agricultural machinery, and the dominance of micro-scale subsistence farming in national food production. Many systemic and environmental factors prevent agriculture from reaching its full potential, including war and instability, low-quality seed and inputs, inefficient farming methods, limited land availability, limited access to credit and investment opportunities, pervasive plant disease, antiquated farming techniques, inefficient food distribution networks, and inadequate training and information for farmers. The vast bulk of agricultural output is generated via unofficial, low-volume practices. In order to maximize profits, commercial plantation agriculture was frequently used.

Transport Infrastructure in the DRC

Small-scale farmers who own relatively small plots of land or who rent from or participate in sharecropping with larger landowners produce the vast majority of the world’s basic foods. The poor condition of the roads along numerous key arteries is exacerbated by the heaviest rains. As a result, it is difficult and costly to transport items across the nation using motorized vehicles. In certain provinces, the national railway doesn’t even exist; therefore nobody uses it to move things or people. Product is often delivered by foot or bicycle from remote communities to urban hubs. Trucks originally built to carry just 4-8 metric tons (MT) are used for most commodity transport between market hubs; however, these trucks are often upgraded to carry 10-12 MT or even more.

Cities, which are the only realistic locations for storage because of their density and proximity to other people, are also the most strategic locations for border crossings. Storage facilities owned and operated by NGOs are sometimes located on the same premises as or very adjacent to the project headquarters in remoter regions. The private sector (merchants, transporters, and retailers) develops methods to circulate commodities despite difficulties in the local transport sector and local infrastructure. Although market integration is high, the movement of locally grown staples such as dry beans, potatoes, maize, and rice across provinces is restricted. Local food markets are often lively places, with many shoppers and vendors vying for wares throughout the day. Although they lack the resources to exercise market power as buyers or sellers, local producers and marketing groups like the Fédération des Entreprises du Congo (FEC) play crucial roles in the marketing of basic foods.

Linking remote DRC to markets

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commercial prospects along the banks of the Congo and Maringa Rivers were few after years of social unrest and civil strife. Sustainable agriculture practices were established, and farmers were given easier access to bigger, metropolitan markets in order to increase their incomes and help restore the forest’s environment. Therefore, in 2006, AWF initiated the Congo Shipping Project. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-provided tugboat M.B. Moise has transported manufactured commodities from Kinshasa into the countryside and agricultural products from the countryside back to Kinshasa.

From the most distant stops on the barge’s route to Kinshasa, more than 2,000 kilometers away, is more than three months of travel time. To get their products to market before the Congo Shipping Project, farmers would utilize improvised boats, putting them in danger from the river’s unpredictable currents and the elements. When transporting their harvests, they sometimes lost 30–40% of it.

More than a decade and a half later, when villages along the M.B. Moise’s path learn of the boat’s impending arrival, eleven makeshift marketplaces sprang up. The availability of the boat also allows for the purchase of salt, which is essential for the preservation of food. In addition, the Congo Shipping Project has helped raise revenue, which has had a significant influence on people’s lives, in tandem with AWF-supported agricultural improvement projects and the formation of farmer organizations.

From an economic standpoint, the Congo Shipping Project has been successful since it has given locals a means to increase their standard of living without negatively impacting the region’s precious natural resources. Now, more than a decade later, the initiative has shown that the trade route from Kinshasa into the furthest reaches of the Lomako environment is viable, and communities with access to markets and motivations to safeguard animals and land will continue to do so.

Mechanization’s Importance in Expanding Consumer Markets

With the right tractors, agricultural machinery, combine harvesters, etc., smallholder farmers in the DRC may increase their yields and have more access to markets. Tractor Provider is dedicated to assisting DRC farmers by providing access to affordable, high-quality agricultural machinery and tractors, such as Massey Ferguson tractors for sale and New Holland tractors for sale, as well as convenient financing alternatives. While the company’s main focus is on selling tractors, Tractor Provider also provides a wide selection of farm implements and agricultural services. Client happiness is a priority for them.

Providing Agricultural Inputs in the DRC

The growth of agriculture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is primarily reliant on support from private sources. Despite this, the public sector has an important role to play in addressing pervasive market failures by providing assistance in the form of both investment and legislation. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to make sure there is food security and promote sustainable agriculture; the agricultural sector will need an enormous amount of additional funding for agricultural machinery and agricultural inputs (SDG). Public spending on farm development also remains low: since 2001, governments have spent, on average, a meager fraction of their central budgets on agriculture. Public expenditure on agriculture development also remains low.

The problem of Agricultural Input in DRC

Access to extension services, agricultural machinery and technology in rural regions is restricted at best, despite the fact that a lack of capacity and agricultural inputs are among the most significant barriers to agricultural growth in DRC. It would seem that the goals outlined in the government plan are not receiving the necessary amount of attention. The PNSD acknowledges that women make up the majority of smallholder farmers and farmers who practice subsistence agriculture, and it makes a plea for training and support services that are specifically tailored to meet their requirements. In a similar vein, the PNIA plans to provide assistance to rural women’s organizations and encourage their engagement in various sectoral processes. In the setting of significant gender disparities, it makes perfect sense to direct one’s attention to women.

Slow adoption of new agricultural machinery and technology, which have been important drivers of improved agricultural production and profitability in other settings, might be one explanation for stagnating agricultural productivity in DRC. Researchers from the World Bank and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Agriculture are studying the effects of subsidizing the cost and availability of improved seeds on the adoption of these seeds by smallholder farmers, as well as on their short-term agricultural productivity and household welfare.

Policy Issue

Between 1960 and 2000, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the lowest rise in agricultural yields of any area on the planet. This might be attributed to the region’s sluggish adoption of agricultural machinery, tractors, farm implements, contemporary agricultural technology, modern fertilizer, and better seeds, which have been important drivers of greater agricultural productivity and profitability in other emerging settings. Subsidizing modern agricultural gear and technology may be a beneficial technique for encouraging their adoption and increasing farm yields and profitability.

The Congolese government has recently sought to boost the use of modern inputs by supporting the production of enhanced seeds among chosen local farmers in order to expand the availability of such seeds in the area. Farmers in the area must be willing and able to spend money on these enhanced seeds for a private seed market to flourish.

Barriers to implementing government strategy

There have been difficulties in putting the government’s policy into action. Corruption and an incomplete decentralization plan have splintered the administrative side, leaving many initiatives uncoordinated. Officially, provincial governments have the authority to create agricultural provincial programs. But they do not have the manpower, infrastructure, or funding to make it happen. Investment and infrastructure projects are not sustainable with the current level of public funding, and they remain highly dependent on foreign aid. In addition, the security situation has made it difficult to access numerous areas of the nation.

Increased demand is anticipated for foreign financing, especially grants and highly concessional loans, to aid the agricultural and rural development sector. Reduced tax income and a reliance on foreign assistance mean that attempts to boost public support for the agricultural and rural development sector will continue to rely on external money. Requests from the government tend to center on grant funding and substantially subsidized lending products.

The federal government has made it clear that it would like development organizations to provide money based on what the government considers to be a priority. To get access to more adaptable and long-term financing, it is also making concerted efforts to combat corruption and restore confidence among development partners. As a result, disarray may be lessened, and cooperation may be enhanced.

Tractor Provider: a reliable tractor dealer in DRC

By continuing to deliver tractors and agricultural machinery to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tractor Provider has shown its dedication to the continent of Africa’s most populous country and its most vital economy. Tractor Provider has been proven right after delivering Massey Ferguson tractors for sale and New Holland tractors for sale to the DRC as part of a commercial arrangement, expanding the company’s credibility in yet another African market. Tractor Provider, a distributor of agricultural machinery in the DRC, sources their tractors and other agricultural machinery from Pakistan. The tractors and other agricultural machinery given by Tractor Provider will help local farmers and increase crop yields in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.