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Peri-urban agriculture: a threat or an opportunity?

Rapid population growth is a threat to urban agriculture in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. 

More and more in DRC, especially the city of Kinshasa province, there is an immense population growth, empty spaces once occupied by farmers in the city centre of Kinshasa have become residential or large residential areas. 

An example is the nursery case of Bandalungwa municipality, which we interviewed two farmers who were doing urban agriculture in the city centre of Kinshasa. Urban agriculture in Kinshasa is threatened by the construction of the modern city

For maman Koko Yala Therese (grandmother in ligala) stated that she started a vegetable field in the nursery of Bandalungwa commune since 1665 and cultivated the biteku teku, spinach, and ngaingai, pointe noir (amaranth) that allowed her to send her children and grandchildren to school. She paid three compounds and sent her eldest daughter to the United States with the same job. One morning in 2011, they have chased out the bandanlungwa nursery for the construction of a modern city, and the public services gave us 450 US dollars to trade, other friends received 300 US dollars and others have received nothing.

Therese has never traded in her life, and with her age, it is very complicated to trade, she is used to the field since her young age. She further reported that” since we were kicked out of the nursery, I became sick, and I am hospitalised every two weeks. It's the effect of doing nothing and stopping to go to the nursery, it's is killing me, and I am half dead because of that. This work gave me the strength to live, the courage to manage my household waste for my field, and not to pay money for it to be thrown in the river, to feed my family (my grandchildren and I) in vegetables and creates some employment for young people.”

She concludes by saying in ligala, "agriculture ematisaka mboka pe ebongisaka vie sociale” that can be literally translated as: agriculture develops the country and supports social life.

For her grandson, Chado, he said:  I was born and raised with this modest work of my grandmother, I am currently 26 years old, after my state diploma (matric) my grandmother initiated me in agricultural work (amaranth culture), after being chased out of the bandalungwa nursery, I decided to continue without my grandmother in the old cemetery of Kasa-vubu commune.

Currently, we are still threatened by the indigenous (chiefs) of the town that asks us to evacuate the site by wanting to sell the space to interested builders and other construction companies. We asked ourselves that: What will become of us when we are chased from the cemetery of Kasa vubu?

Peri-urban agriculture in the municipality of Mont Ngafula

My name is Hervé Bondonga, I am a peri-urban farmer of the city of Kinshasa, in developing this subject, I told myself to see the chief of land, in order to have his point of view on the threat of agriculture and opportunity for peri-urban agriculture in its jurisdiction.

The point of view of the indigenous chief is clear, he is ready to give his land to build a city in the place of agriculture. He said that: cities will develop my village faster, due to the road construction and current electric installation.

Urban and peri-urban agriculture provided close to 80% of vegetables for the population of Kinshasa, but we are realising that farmland is threatened by urbanization, the construction of large modern city and mining carrier (stone).

Some questions come to mind begging to be considered: what will become of the population of Kinshasa in ten years, will they source fresh vegetables produced in Kinshasa? Can we find a common ground to integrate peri-urban agriculture into the design of new cities?


Picture credit: Flickr

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