“The opportunity of Congo starts with the people.” – Baraka Kasali, Country Director, ECI
Meet Emil Ntaminabare Batera. Emil is part of an exciting movement in eastern Congo – the revitalization of the region’s agricultural sector. Emil and his wife are coffee farmers in North Kivu, one of the world’s most fertile regions for coffee production. Every day they pick coffee beans, dry them, de-pulp them and prepare them for processing. It’s hard work, but thanks to ECI’s new program – The Congo Farmer Trust (CFT) – farmers like Emil are earning more money for their labor and are better able to provide their families with education and health care.
The Congo Farmer Trust (CFT) works by assisting farmers with two persistent problems in the Congolese agricultural sector. On one hand, farmers need help with their capacity for output. Violence and instability have taken a toll on agricultural production, depriving many farmers of the equipment and information needed to produce their products to international standards. To address this first problem, the CFT is investing 12.5 million dollars worth of grants into Congolese organizations that educate and train rural farmers in modern farming techniques, all the while promoting gender-inclusivity.
Capacity, however, is only half the equation. Famers also need fair and sustainable access to international markets. Here too, the CFT is designed to help. Through innovative partnerships, ECI brings companies like Theo Chocolate, Lush Cosmetics and Starbucks Coffee to the region and connects these businesses with Congolese owned-and-operated farms. By fostering relationships between forward-thinking companies and Congolese farms, the CFT is helping to build a foundation of support for Congolese products and the hardworking farmers who produce them.
To know eastern Congo is to know its people. In the coming months, we invite you to meet the hardworking and resilient Congolese farmers building a brighter future for their country.