With funding from Nous Cims and together with the local NGO Don Bosco, we work with women and men who are engaged in agriculture and livestock as their main means of subsistence in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are located in five communities around Shasha, a rural area three hours from Goma, where the activities of production and sale of agricultural products are concentrated.
These communities are organized into seven cooperatives for the production of corn, manioc (yuca), and potatoes. The context of poverty and institutional weakness in which they live causes them to encounter a series of difficulties: the low productivity of their crops does not allow them to have a surplus, they do not have access to quality seeds and they do not have technical knowledge about agriculture. Furthermore, they do not have a logistics system for harvesting their crops, nor are they grouped into cooperatives to have greater bargaining power when it comes to selling their products at a fair price.
Our methodology “Market Development for the Poor”
According to our Market Development for the Poor (M4P) methodology, solving the lack of land, seeds, knowledge, logistics, and sales services can help them change the situation of poverty in which they live. By improving their farming techniques, they will be able to have minimum savings to cover their basic needs to face possible unforeseen events or make small investments in their businesses.
What does it consist of:
- Identification of low-cost technologies: we have lived with producers for a year to identify the technologies and services they need under two criteria: that they were technologies present in the area and that their price was accessible. Based on this, we have selected the following technologies.
- Tools to plow the land that reduce the effort when working.
- Recovery of urine for the fertilization of the land, which improves the quality of the crops.
- The use of the donkeys as a means of transport so that they can take their products from the communities where they are to the markets.
- Market development for the use of these technologies:
We train and organize local entrepreneurs and suppliers so that they are the ones who sell the technology or offer the service to the community. The goal is to make the technology available and farmers can buy it at a price that is affordable for them.
We work with producers through rural marketing, we sensitize and train on the possibilities of the use of these technologies. The objective is that the farmers are convinced of the usefulness of the technology and want to buy it to improve their crops.
The impact of the project
Access to these technologies, adapted to their reality, will allow them to gradually increase their production and have surpluses that they can sell on the market. When the project ends, the producers will have improved their productivity and access to the market, with a 25% improvement in their income. This income can be invested in the education of their children as well as in access to medicines and health. They will have a decent life with minimal savings that they will use in unforeseen events that arise.
M4P is a sustainable methodology that drives a local market that will allow community members to develop themselves.