The port city of Matadi. The majority of microfinance institutions in DRC are investing in cities; the bulk of the clientele are traders.
Photo: J. Lutz


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Agriculture is the basis for the livelihoods of the rural Congolese population. Yet despite its considerable potential, the sector and its many smallscale producers are barely served by microfinance institutions. The lack of adapted financial products for development of the farming sector is one of the reasons for the country’s continuing dependence on food imports.

Life is quiet in the small village of Kinsambi on the Mansi plateau. It is rare to see a vehicle on the road, just a few goats, chickens and pigs. On plots that are sometimes only 25 square metres in size, manioc, plantains, peanuts, tomatoes and other kinds of vegetable crops are growing. Livestock farming is only of secondary importance because the farmers do not have the necessary land or, especially, water. Outside the rainy season there is very little rainfall. Today the sky is typically cloudless, and a scorching heat is making its presence felt; the roads and surrounding fields are parched.

Despite the problem of irrigation, the area has potential for intensified agricultural production. The farmers themselves point out the fertile soils of the plateau, which bear two harvests per year. In good years they might be able to sell almost half of the harvest; furthermore, the port city of Matadi with its 300,000 inhabitants and bustling markets is only 45 kilometres away.

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