Economic Gains from Crop Production in DR Congo

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Economic Gains from Crop Production in DR Congo

  1. 1. Determinants of Economic Gains from Crop Production in Africa: The Case of Smallholder Group Farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo E. Birachi , D.Ochieng , G.Owuor , R.Buruchara , J. Ochieng , S. Mapatano , 1 2 2 1 2 3 1. International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); 2. Department of Agricultural Economics, Egerton University, Platform DIOBASS, DRCIntroduction be reinvested in agriculture to increase productivity and - ence of off-farm income on economic gain could only beMeasures to alleviate poverty among smallholder farmers in Africa substituted if future interventions incorporate more incomehave focused on individual farmers all through the 21st century. How- generating activities along with the technology package toever, these have not yielded much success, forcing research and de- enable the resource poor farmers afford improved technol-velopment organizations to focus their efforts on technological innova- ogies whose adoption seemed low.tions and other interventions through farmer groups. In line with the regression results, more credit needs toThe potential gain in productivity through group interventions is a major be availed to the farmers to increase economic gains.factor underlying the need for developing countries to promote groups. This could be done through innovative ways to enableGroup actions are analyzed within the concept of collective action. the resource poor farmers access credit, for example credit in kind (input provision) given the risk averse na-Based on the new institutional economics approach, collective efforts ture of smallholder farmers. Financial institutions shouldsolve societal problems, and focus on the conditions under which however issue more credit in kind to reduce loss of thegroups of people with common interests choose to act to achieve funds; the credit could be in form of material inputs nec- essary to increase agricultural productivity. The lendingof the gaps generated by this situation for example in input and out-put marketing. South Kivu Province, DRC periods given the nature of agricultural production in Congo that is characterized by risks of crop failure, erratic whether there is need to upscale the efforts or not. The rainfall and pest invasion.Agricultural set up need to link with other institutions depends on the success of the existing group efforts and without impact assess- Membership to farmers’ organizations was also ob-in the DRC group efforts. This study contributes to research on agri- cultural technology interventions aimed at improving pro- It should be encouraged among smallholders in order to boost productivity and incomes as observed in theAnnual decline in productivity in DR Congo has been estimated at ductivity and economic gains among smallholder farmers mean differences in these variables between group and0.98% while low annual increment in agricultural production at 2% in the DRC. non-group farmers.compared to the demographic rise of 3.3% (Vandamme, 2008 andMastaki, 2006). Efforts to improve and sustain the sector’s productiv-ity therefore would be crucial to the nation’s economic developmentand the welfare of the people. ConclusionsMost farmers have limited access to improved crop varieties of ma- • To achieve improved economic welfare, group effortsjor crops like maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and common should be promotedbeans. The decline in productivity has also been partly attributed to • The issue of credit access and provision needs a clos-reduction in soil fertility and high levels of soil erosion such that an es- er considerationtimate of 80 kg/ha of nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are lost an- • Dissemination of technologies need to reach the high-nually (Kasereka, 2003).There is a shortage of animal manure due to est possible number of farmers and radio appears toreduction in livestock holdings (Lunze, 2000), that could be used as or- offer a better optionganic fertilizer. Family manpower has reduced following the emigrationof active men and women to urban centers in search of alternative op- References mi andMashika, 1999).The research issue Discussions 1 Cirimwami, K.J.P., and Mashika B.K.A. (1999). La maîtrise de l’espace rural en vue de la sécurité ali- mentaire à Kabare-centre: analyse des stratégies Results show that there were differences in d’exploitastion du terroir local. Cahiers du CERPRULimited institutional support has been offered to farmers since in- 13: 33-44dependence in 1960 in terms of information, supply and credit re- economic gains between group and non-garding fertilizers. Currently, collective efforts are being made to link group farmers. Clague, C. (1997). The New Institutional Economics andfarmers to input and output markets by government, international Economic Development. Institutions and Economicresearch institutions such as CIAT and other partners. A plan to en- Development; Growth and Governance in Less De-hance productivity and economic gains among smallholder farmers in veloped and Post-Socialist Countries. John HopkinsDRC has been followed by introduction of new improved production University Press, Baltimore and London. Pp. 13-36.technologies such as new crop varieties, hybrid seeds and use of fer- Greene. W.H. (2003). Econometric Analysis. Fifth Edi-tilizers (inorganic and organic). This has been encouraged through a tion., Pearson Education International., Upper Saddleparticipatory approach to technology and agricultural information dis- The changes in farm credit amounts, group member- River, New Jersey, USA.semination that involves farmer groups, research institutions and de- ship, frequency of listening to radio farmer programs andvelopment partners who initiate rural development projects in DRC. Kasereka, B. (2003). Aménagement du terroir et érosion gains. Membership to farmer organizations is therefore des terres autour de Bukavu. Communication person- Empirical evidence of the impacts of group efforts on productivity important as a means of enhancing economic gains of nelle. Séminaire sur la lutte anti-érosive autour deand economic welfare of smallholders of the South Kivu territories smallholder farmers in the DR Congo Bukavu, tenu à Bukavu du 27au 29 mai 2003.is limited. There is thus the need to bridge the information gap on Regarding information access through farmer radio pro- Lunze, L.(2000). Possibilités de gestion de la fertilité grams, there is need to allocate more radio air time to des sols au Sud-Kivu smontagneux. Cahiers du the programs so as to improve the adoption of new agri- CERPRU 14: 23-26welfare gain of farmers cultural technologies. The promising information access Mastaki, L.N. (2006). Le rôle des goulotsModel Beta T strategy revolves around vigorous promotional activities d`étranglement de la commercialisation dans(Constant) 0.347 0.287 via radio and should be carried out by interested NGOs, 0.015 0.152 l`adoption des innovations agricoles chez les pro- development partners and research institutions and oth- ducteurs vivriers du Sud-Kivu (Est de la RD.Congo), 0.086 0.804 er stakeholders to encourage the formation of farmers’ PhD dissertation originale, Université des sciences 0.807 1.87** radio listening groups across the territories to allow for agronomiques de Gembloux, Unité d’Economie etprograms Développement Rural. that improve productivity and economic welfare of small- 0.006 0.055 holder farmers. 0.02 0.198 Walungu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. 0.561 5.593*** Thesis, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. 0.022 0.10 0.219 1.36* Discussions 2 Notes: The study was based on project interventionsR2 0.545 under: CSO-DIOBASS Project in South Kivu. Acknowl- 2 0.449 of the smallholder farmers as observed in off-farm in- edgments and to Plateform DIOBASS with funding 5.637*** come realized. Smallholder farmers spent more time in off-farm activities like running small business enterprises 2.367 to supplement their income. These off-farm activities can For more information: e.birachi@cgiar.org

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