N2Africa coordinator Fred Kanampiu visited N2Africa activities in DR Congo from October 6 to 10, 2014.
Highlights of his visit were to see:
Rugwasa nye women group under Partner SARCAF Site Miki axe Katana. The group has 300 members of which 110 are women. Each member has two plots for growing maize and/or beans, one at INERA and one at their own land. Members received a loan from PADIEK (a micro-finance organization) and repayment is on schedule. The loan assisted them to conduct weeding: family labour is limited at weeding time. A challenge is the marketing of produce after harvest (poor prices, unreliable market).
Development Action against Hunger Organization, ACFD site Kavumu Axe Katana. This is an umbrella organization of 74 groups under the catholic diocese. Each group has 20-30 members, of which 90% are women. Training-of-Trainers was conducted by N2Africa. These groups started this season with planting maize-soyabeans or beans. After harvest, each farmer gets legume seed for planting in the next season. Produce is sold through the diocese, but the groups need to be linked with input suppliers, micro-finance organizations and markets. They also need to develop group leadership and empower women. Constraints of the groups include input supply, access to credit and output marketing.
Women for Women International (WFW). N2Africa is involved in capacity building and gave training on legume production, choice of crops, general crop management and supply of inputs. Cassava or maize was intercropped with beans and soyabeans. Soyabean was planted with or without inoculation. A challenge is that the demonstration plots were poorly executed. This needs follow-up after the training, and repeat training will be conducted before planting in the next season.
Muku Agriculture Secondary School, Axe Walungu. Teaching at this school focuses on Science, Education and Agriculture. N2Africa is facilitating demonstration plots executed by students on intercropping cassava and soyabean and the use of fertilizer. Students are looking for opportunities from N2Africa as field assistants, for exchange visits and for demonstration kits for planting at their homes.
PAIDEK – Micro-Finance. This organization is working closely with N2Africa in linking farmer groups to credit. The organization has 25 years of experience and has been giving loans to groups without repayment problems. They use the group as a guarantee. N2Africa helps PAIDEK to identify good farmer groups so that more farmers can benefit from this facility.
Agrodealer shop Pharmacie Lobiko Bukavu. Farmer groups could be linked to this shop for access to inputs (fertilizer and inoculants).
Radio Maendeleo Media event. Radio Maendeleo has a weekly, 30 minutes local radio program on farming. Feedback on this program is needed to find out its effectiveness.
Rhizobiology activities. Activities in the Rhizobiology laboratory and greenhouse include refreshing of NAK strains and updating of the database; quality control of BIOFIX (batch no11031402S) and Kalambo inoculants; testing of four elite strains from DRC and one strain from Rwanda compared to SEMIA5019 and USDA110 in the greenhouse; and field testing of the effectiveness of four outperforming NAK strains on two varieties of soyabean (SB24 and Imperial) compared to the commercial strains USDA110 and SEMIA5019.
Linkage with IFAD project / IITA Murhesa activities. In a new initiative, IITA collaborates with a catholic church. N2Africa has some activities in the Murhesa site, including a demonstration plot, a soyabean evaluation trial and the dissemination of a number of packages to farmers around Murhesa.
Development Action against Hunger Organization, ACFD site Kavumu Axe Katana
Agrodealer shop Pharmacie Lobiko Bukavu
Women for Women International
In a nutshell "N2Africa has done and achieved a lot in DR Congo building on Phase I achievements and maintaining the momentum" remarked Fred Kanampiu N2Africa Coordinator. However, still a lot needs to be done during Phase II. "There is need to formalize existing collaboration with partners, link farmer groups to market to sell their produce, facilitate the creation of a One-Stop Shop closer to farmers to address the demand for inputs and information, link farmers to micro-finance for credit and monitor the feedback on the Radio Maendeleo program to have a feel on how many farmers we are reaching" said Fred Kanampiu.
Jean Marie Sanginga