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Growing greener cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Author: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Publisher:Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
2010

In the year 2000, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was emerging from a five-year conflict in the eastern part of the country that had caused countless deaths and a massive flight of rural people to towns and cities. Between 1995 and 2000, the population of the capital, Kinshasa, had grown by more than one million people. With its population deeply impoverished and its food supply disrupted, Kinshasa was facing severe food shortages and rising rates of child malnutrition. In the face of this adversity, resourceful Kinois revived an age-old survival strategy. Across the city, residents began growing vegetables and root crops around their homes, on vacant lots and along roads and streams. Many of the new growers were displaced rural people who had settled on the city’s outskirts. For the national government and FAO, that spontaneous growth of urban and peri-urban horticulture (or UPH, for short) presented an opportunity – to look beyond the country’s immediate needs for emergency food aid and to sow new seeds of hope. Together, they launched a project aimed at building a vibrant UPH sector that would contribute to urban food security, improved nutrition and sustainable livelihoods in the future. This report on an FAO-assisted project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo illustrates the benefits of UPH development, and underscores its important contribution to growing greener cities.

Organization: UN agency
Region: Africa
Coverage: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Areas of focus: Food production and ecosystem management
Tags: Climate mitigation, Food security and nutrition, Urban and peri-urban agriculture