4 November 2010

In the Congo Brazzaville, the first agricultural villages are bearing fruit

With a harvest of 2.000 tonnes of cassava expected in late-November, the new agricultural villages represent a hope for the Congolese state in the reduction of food imports, valued at $60 million per year. Therefore, between 2011 and 2015, the state is planning to inject approximately $80 million per year in the budget for agriculture, either 1.3 percent of the national budget.
Construction of two new agricultural villages, in Odziba and Imvouba, started in October 2010 in the same agricultural basin and they should be completed by February 2011. These villages will be used for rearing chicks and animal feed industry.
Agricultural villages - a model of success
Nkouo is one of three new farming villages that the government already built in the agricultural basin of IgniƩ, in the Pool, in the north of Brazzaville. There are still two villages under construction.
When the farming village of Nkouo was built in 2009 by the Congolese company for modernization, the government gave these livestock farms to young Congolese i.e. 40 young families selected from 358 applicants.
According to Jean Claude Elombila, national coordinator of agricultural villages, these families work for their own profit and are only obliged to deliver results.
An innovative way to develop the agricultural sector for the authorities
The state gave 792 young hens and two hectares of cassava to each of these villages. These 40 families live in houses built by the state. The state invested a total of $26 million in the project. Everything is free, the farmers only pay water and electricity.
By creating farming villages, the government wants to professionalize agriculture, because almost no company is interested in this sector in the country. Official records noted that only one percent of the companies created in 2009 were interested in agriculture, while 74 percent of them are engaged in trade, especially in imports of food products.
Only two percent of 10.000 hectares of arable land are exploited according the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The objective of the project is to implement modern agro-pastoral villages in the rural areas that would be inhabited by several families, forming multi-sectoral, homogeneous as well as organized and successful communities.
Reducing food imports
With this village, an important step has been taken in the reduction of the Congolese food imports, estimated at about 130 billion CFA francs per year. The farming village of Nkouo is meant to provide the market in Brazzaville and other locations with quality chickens and eggs at low prices.
Besides houses, there will be a primary school, a health center, a library, community playgrounds, a community hangar, networks of electricity and water supply, a system of public lighting, roads, a livestock feed factory and a central storage.
Outside Nkouo, the project involves the construction of two other villages in Imvouba and Odziba (Pool), which will specialize in raising chickens and pigs.
The Government has decided to inject 40 billion CFA francs per annum in the agricultural sector during the next four years. After the Pool, the Government envisages the construction of agricultural villages in other counties.

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