Democratic Republic of Congo, Province of Bandundu, District of Kenge
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the third most populated African country, rich in natural resources, forestry, and minerals. Agriculture, including forestry, the breeding of livestock, and fish, represents the main sector of the economy in the State. It contributes 40% to the GDP and employs about 70% of the workforce. With these numbers, the Democratic Republic of Congo should be able to export food to all of the continent. The variety of climate, the fertility of the soil, and the abundance of water guarantee two harvests a year and a wide variety of crops. Not only is the Democratic Republic of Congo increasingly dependent on food imports, but it is unable to meet domestic demand. Agricultural productivity is very low and, according to the world bank, has remained unchanged from the 1980s to today.
Another problem is represented by the rate of malnutrition, which is spiraling: in the last 20 years, in fact, the country has gone from a condition of self-sufficiency to a large importation of humanitarian aid. The food which is widely consumed is manoic, corn, rice and bananas. The nutritional regime of the children deserves particular attention. If in fact, 80% of babies breastfeed until they are 15 months old, the WHO has stressed that around 55% of the mothers also feed with instant formula as early as the third month due to great shortages in hygiene practices and onset of gastrointestinal morbidity. The rate of malnourishment of children of pre-school age is around 25%.
Among the obstacles suffered by the agro-food sector in the Province of Bandundu, in which Kenge is located, the lack of a programmatic policy for the promotion of the sector must be mentioned; from a technical-professional point of view as well as one of sufficient financial allocation. There is a lack of guidance services and technical assistance in the agronomic and vetinary fields, a non accessibility to the markets for informal micro-entrepreneurs, a low quality of seeds, a resurgence of parasitic diseases among farmed animals, a lack of control of the general level of consumer prices and then large imports of food which further make local productions uneconomical. In particular, for example, the absence of specific foods for different types of farmed animals and the persistence of precarious hygiene conditions makes the situation again more critical.