5 February 2016

Congo-Kinshasa: From Purchase for Progress to Trade for Progress - a Story From DRC

Two letters and a numeral - P4P - have turned around the life of Jacquie Kyungu Bimuloko (31), a mother of six is from the Luba ethnic group living in the town of Kabalo in Tanganyika province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jacquie now has the necessary skills and financial means to believe in a better life, thanks to the World Food Programme's agriculture value chain development programme known as Purchase for Progress (P4P for short). In DRC, this was launched in Kabalo in 2010 by WFP in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Tanganyika province has tremendous agricultural potential but, until recently, Jacquie could barely meet her family's needs by selling produce in the local market, earning a monthly income of some 9,200 - 14,000 Congolese Francs (about US$ 10-15 dollars). With her husband unemployed, this small amount made it difficult to pay for the education of her children.

The programme aims to support smallholder farmers and provide them with more lucrative markets. It does this by forming them into farmers' organisations and giving them the training they need to grow more and better produce and to earn more from their sales.

In DRC, it facilitated the construction of a small shop in the town of Kabalo where smallholders can purchase seeds and basic agricultural items. The funding for this came mostly from the savings that the P4P-supported farmers' organizations were able to generate through increased production and trade.

A few years after the launch of the project, Jacquie, though illiterate, joined P4P through one of the farmers' organizations called 'Mapendo', which means 'Love' in Swahili, one of the languages spoken locally.

After completing the literacy classes that P4P organizes to empower its beneficiaries, Jacquie looked for a job, hoping that her new skills would allow her to earn more money to support her family.

"Thanks to literacy classes, my life is experiencing a big change, because I can now read, write and count, allowing me to run my small business," says Jacquie.

Shortly after starting to look for work, she learned that a farmers' organization was looking for a salesperson for its store. Jacquie submitted her application and did an interview. She got the position and now earns a monthly salary of 27,600 Congolese Francs (US$ 30).

Jacquie's monthly income has now doubled. She is also able to add a small amount to her income with the sale of some of her own agricultural produce at Kabalo market.

"My monthly salary allows me to pay school fees for my children, to have access to health care, to buy clothes and more importantly to feed my household," she says. "I can also pay for labour to maintain my field because the work at my farm is very time-consuming."

Jacquie has done a great job running the shop in Kabalo and has even been able to save some money. The programme will use this sum to open a second shop in Ngwena Gare, some 90 km away from Kabalo.

Jacquie aims to increase her income by partnering with other cereal traders. Now equipped with the skills and knowledge to run a small business, she is confident of success.


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