International Hopebuilding News: Urban Farming Project in Congo Shows How Cities Can Improve Their Food Security
Some very inspiring news gets lost in archives – we’re resurrecting some Hopebuilding stories for Happyzine readers.
Growing vegetables in five major cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo is bringing new revenue to city dwellers, creating jobs and income for more than 70,000 people directly and indirectly, producing more than 25 kilos of vegetables a year per city dweller, and is improving the nutritional status of children. The Food and Agriculture Organization says that the project is a flagship model of how to help cities grow their own nutrients and micro-nutrients to keep pace with increased urban growth and improve nutrition and food security in poor countries.
In a June 10, 2011 news release, the FAO said the program has created a surplus with a market value of over $400 million and helped provide employment and income for 16,000 small-scale market gardeners linked in to the programme and to another 60,000 people who form the links in the horticulture chain from field to table. The 330,000 tons of vegetables now produced annually compares with 148 000 in 2005/2006, an increase of 122% in five years.
Less than 10% of the vegetables produced by the project are consumed by beneficiaries. The remainder, constituting more than 250 000 tons of produce, is sold in urban markets and supermarkets at up to $4 a kilo for tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions.Around 11.5 million people live in the five cities concerned — Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Mbanza-Ngungu, Kisangani and Likasi — out of the DRC’s total population of around 68 million. Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC, has grown by 50% in just ten years to 1.5 million people, and thanks to the FAO project, local vegetable production has kept pace. Today market gardens all around the city produce around 60,000 tons of vegetables a year employing 7,800 small scale market gardeners. Read more on Hopebuilding.com