Over 150 farmers and partners including representatives from local authorities, health centers, schools, and church organizations in Walungu district of DR Congo met on 29 January, to share their perceptions and discuss needs as part of IITA’s project with Food for the Hungry International DR Congo.
It was also an occasion to discuss major challenges and opportunities in achieving the project’s objectives. In the meeting, farmers indicated that due to the high population density, continuous
cropping on small-sized farms had resulted in highly degraded soils leading to serious food insecurity, while cultivated crop varieties remain susceptible to diseases and are low yielding.
In addition, the introduction of livestock has caused conflict between pastoralists and crop producers as the grazing area is extremely limited with little or no fodder available to stabilize livestock.
To address these production constraints, IITA is promoting integrated crop management practices, regenerating genetic material, enhancing seed systems with postharvest value addition, and capacity development. Farmers indicated their needs which included improved communication, transportation and access to markets, and credit. They also noted the need for quality planting materials and soil fertility
restoration; collective decision-making in project planning; and that projects should be designed to attract more young people and women.