In 2011 the Congo Project has received once again institutional support. With the two contributions granted, 12.000 € from the Conseil Régional e 6.000 € from the Conseil Générale de la Région Haute Normandie, Avec International can proceed to buy the equipment necessary to acheive the relaunch of agricultural production an commercialisation in the Pool Regio of Congo-Brazzaville. Thanks to these funds and to the contributions of associates and donors, Avec International will provide a tractor, a trailer and a power generator to supply a rice-peeling machine (already provided), acheiving one of the fundamental steps of the Congo Project. In addition, the work of Jean Claude Ntadi, Avec Congo’s president, has allowed us to obtain 6.000€ of funds from the European Union’s representatives in Brazzaville ; this amount will be devoted to the constitution of a fund that will be used to provide tools for the farmers in the Project’s area.
The civil conflict that have interested the Congo Project area between 1997 and 2002 have severely disrupted local agriculture and stock-breeding, producing severe poverty and a migratory flux towards Congo-Brazzaville’s over-crowded cities. Avec’s response is a long-term effort to relaunch the rural economy to favor durable, responsible and self-achieved development.
Relaunching agriculture and stock-breeding is the real heart of the Congo Project. The goal is to re-establish efficient and sustainable agricultural and breeding techniques by fully involving the local population and by focusing on women and the young generations who often don’t have the resources (land, knowledge, instruments) necessary to achieve economic independence. The first results of the initiative started in 2005 show that sustainable and efficient agriculture and stock-breeding allow local farmers and their families to address nutritional deficits and to reduce dependency from expensive and often unreliable imported products. Once again, our development strategies have been conceived by the Congolese partners of Avec Congo, thanks to their deep knowledge of the local conditions and through a constant dialogue with the farmers involved.
The relaunch of agriculture and stock-breeding in the Mayama, Kindamba, Vinza and Kinda districts is achieved through the following activities:
a. Enhancing family-owned vegetable gardens through the diffusion of knowledge, seeds and basic instruments.
b. Supporting medium-sized family-run agriculture (corn, rice and manioc) through locally-based production and distribution of seeds and through the diffusion of sustainable and efficient techniques.
c. Recreating local agricultural transports by providing a vehicle.
d. Reestablishing the agricultural products’ transformation activities fundamental for the re-insertion of the local farmers in the national markets. This is achieved by creating a small plant to transform corn and rice for human consumption and to produce animal fodder using the discarded material.
e. Relaunching local stock-breeding by launching pilot farms for reproduction and distribution of animals to the local farmers.
These initiatives aim to recreate a cycle of sustainable and integrated agricultural practices. Each one of them interacts with the others for mutual support, in an effort to maximize the results and to minimize the waste of resources (see picture). They are being implemented in parallel according to the principles of sustainable, gradual and self-achieved development followed by Avec.
Summary of the Congo Project
The Congo Project is based in the post-conflict context of the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), in an area that has been severely damaged by the 1997-2002 civil war, the Pool Region. In this area all essential services have been interrupted; furthermore, agricultural techniques have regressed to subsistance forms and the commercial circuits for local products have been disrupted. The populations’ life standards and the local economy have deteriorate to th point that external support has become necessary.
The Rural Development Project in Congo (Congo Project) was started by Avec International immediately after the end of the war in 2002. The aim of the Project is to fight poverty, underdevelopment and the rural exodus which have affected the area since the war started (1997). The Project is rebuilding the necesary conditions for an efficient and sustainable agriculture, through the following initiatives:
- Providing specific knowledge and equipment for Avec Congo the locally-based partner of the project to allow them to analyse needs and problems and to plan and enact solutions
- Helping the reconstruction of essential services for the population
- Providing organizative support to the local farmers and their families
- Diffusing knowledge to promote productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture and stock-breeding
- Enhancing the procuction of homegrown vegetables to fight malnutrition
- Ensuring the transformation and commercialization of rice, corn and other local products
- Restarting stock-breeding as a fundamental component of local intergrated agricultural cycles
The Project is divided in three parts:
- Capacity-building for Avec Congo (complete)
- Supporting local education (complete)
- Restarting local family-based agriculture and stock-breeding (in progress)