Republic of Congo Agriculture

Unlike many other African countries, the Republic of Congo does not suffer from lack of rainfall and despite the country having one third of its mass as part of the Congo basin, it still has eight million hectares available for farming to support a population of under four million. The country should be food self sufficient, yet out of that great landmass only 200,000 hectares are used for agriculture.

Part of the reason for this is that under Marxist rule, which was abandoned in the early 1990s, peasant organisations were set up to run state farms, however with the collapse of the state farm policy in 1986, these

large farms were abandoned and the agriculture sector became dominated by smallholdings managed by families that concentrated on peanut, rice, corn, cassava and yam production, but often without the skills and knowledge to work the land effectively.

President Sassou announced ambitions to ensure the country would be self-sufficient in food by the year 2000 however despite overseas aid programs such as the Special Food Security Program, the National Food Security Program and the Agricultural and Rural Development Program, the Republic of Congo is far from being able to meet its own food needs through agriculture and many of its citizens suffer from mal-nourishment.

The failure of these programs to increase the Republic of Congo's agriculture production means that every year the country is required to import about 30% of its food needs; in particular meat products, cereals, flour and starch, vegetables, oils and fats at a cost of £120m per annum out of the budget of an already poor country.

In response to this the country has recently leased land to South African farmers to come in and help increase the food yield.


Congo Agriculture

Congo Agriculture

Congo Agriculture

Congo Agriculture


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Congo Agriculture

Congo Agriculture

Most farming in the Republic of Congo is undertaken by around 30% of the workforce and is subsistence farming concentrated on cassava, a hardy plant that thrives in poor soil conditions and is the equivalent of the potato in terms of its use in meals with its starchy roots and protein and vitamin high leaves.

In the south of the country growing bananas and plantains, a banana lookalike vegetable that is used in recipes like potatoes.

Other agricultural production includes peanuts, maize and potatoes as well as fruit whilst cash crops are primarily sugarcane and tobacco. Most rural families also keep chickens, goats, sheep and pigs to supplement their diet.

This video (above) explores the challenges of the agriculture and farming sector in the Republic of Congo. Check out our other articles and videos below for more information about life in the Republic of Congo including that of the lives of children there or click on "Congo Profile" for our full series of articles about the country, its history and life there today.


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