Saving lives through rapid food production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Saving lives through rapid food production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

12/02/2018

With 4.1 million people displaced, the Democratic Republic of the Congo faced Africa’s most severe internal displacement crisis – more than 75 percent are women and children. Violence and intercommunal tensions in areas previously considered stable caused the sharp deterioration of food security throughout 2017, with 7.7 million people now severely food insecure – a 30 percent increase in just one year. The situation is further exacerbated by limited dietary diversity, lack of livelihood opportunities and plant diseases affecting cassava, maize and banana – crops that are people’s main sources of food and income.

FAO helped protect the livelihoods of 249 000 displaced families by providing short-cycle seeds and agricultural inputs. With the support provided, families were able to cover at least two farming seasons and establish food stocks. As productive assets are often burnt or looted, providing inputs to improve agricultural production is an effective way for displaced families to grow their own nutritious food and generate income, restoring their livelihoods and protecting dignity.

FAO further supported 15 500 families to form farmers’ groups, with a focus on supporting women’s leadership, strengthening skills on sustainable agricultural and environmental practices through farmer field schools and quality seed multiplication activities. FAO also established vegetable gardens in schools and women’s associations.

FAO is working with the World Food Programme to ensure people can rapidly resume food production as soon as security conditions improve. The response links emergency food assistance (food or cash transfers) with the distribution of agricultural inputs.