Congolese left productive fields behind as they fled war. Now, international efforts aim to renew agriculture and reduce hunger. Transcript of radio broadcast:
the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Food and Agriculture Organization recently reported that hunger increased by
seventy-five million people last year. The United Nations agency blamed rising
prices for food, fuel and fertilizer.
F.A.O. estimates that in two thousand seven, the world had nine hundred
twenty-three million undernourished people.
Among them are most of the people in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The D.R.C. has a population estimated in July at
sixty-six million. The Food and Agriculture Organization says seven out of ten
of them do not get the food they need.
The D.R.C. is huge. The central African
country has about seven million hectares of productive land. Yet only about one
million hectares are used for permanent crops.
fled their land after civil war began in nineteen ninety-eight. Five years of
conflict, hunger and disease killed four million people.
five years have passed since that war officially ended. But hundreds of
thousands of people in the D.R.C. remain homeless. And there is continued
unrest, mostly in the east.
In the southern province of Katanga,
however, there is a tense, sometimes shaky peace. Four hundred fifty thousand
people returned to Katanga by the middle of this year. The F.A.O. says many
plan to farm and fish again.
organizations are working to get farmers back on their land.
Food and Agriculture Organization has more than two hundred workers involved in
the effort. They travel around to supply seeds, tools and animals. They also provide
supervision and training to support farming and fishing.
agency says its fifty million dollar program has assisted about two million
men, women and children in the last three years.
colonial ruler Belgium and the European Commission are supporting the program.
Commission projects officer Patrick Houben says big companies will not invest
in small-scale farming. But he says the only way to renew agriculture is to
begin with small farmers.
groups and countries including the United States are also supporting the
von Braun is director general of the International Food Policy Research
Institute in Washington. He said in Kinshasa recently that the D.R.C. has
strong possibilities for agriculture and that making use of them could reduce
that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson.
I'm Bob Doughty.