N’Sele Chickens are back on the Market” Food Crisis Response: AfDB Re-Launches N’Sele Farms

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Although modest in terms of investment, the resumption of poultry and piggery farms in the former N’Sele Presidential Agro-industrial Domain (DAIPN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could become one of the success stories in efforts by the Bank to mitigate the impact of the food crisis in its Regional Member Countries (RMCs).

The African Food Crisis Response (AFCR) approved in July 2008, is the Bank’s framework for accelerated support to RMCs affected by high food prices. The Response is designed to reduce the vulnerability of the poor to high and unstable food prices; support broad-based growth through increased agricultural productivity, strengthen government policies for sustainable agricultural development; as well as strengthen the government’s capacity to ensure an enabling environment for sustainable agricultural growth, including private sector participation.

The N’Sele Farms project, designed to achieve these objectives, comprises four components:

  • Capacity building support services,
  • Development of agricultural production,
  • Rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, and
  • Project management. It is projected to increase annual production of table chickens to 5,850 tons and 360 tons of pork, as well as make the farm serve as a pilot to extend the initiative across the country.

“The N’Sele farms will provide Kinshasa residents with chickens for next year’s (2010) new year’s celebrations. We have to ensure that our people have enough food to eat,” Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Minister, Norbert Basengezi Katintima, announced few weeks before the end of 2009.

This promise was fulfilled on December 23, 2009, when a sales bazaar of the once famous "Soso ya N'sele" was launched. The table birds were the first products of the farms funded by AfDB to the tune of 8 million dollars (UA 5.323 million). Launched on 1 October 2009, the project was designed to improve food security by boosting livestock production as well as reducing huge imports of meat, poultry and eggs. It would make the products cheaper and within the reach of the poor as well as serve as a guide on revitalizing the country’s poultry sector.

The project comprises:

  • The upgrading and operation of poultry and pig farms, including the rehabilitation of 45 poultry and 12 piggeries, respectively, which are now operational and properly equipped for the production; 
  •  The acquisition of day-old chicks and piglets (1,000,000 broiler-chicks, 50,000 layer-chicks, 4,900 brooder-chicks and 1,000 broiler-chicks) and 710 piglets to restock the farm.
  • The procurement of a feed mill unit with a blender/mixer; provision for 3 tons of food per hour. Currently, the farm has a stock of about 750 tons of maize, 90 tons of soybeans and 15 tons of wheat bran.

The results speak for themselves:

  • The rehabilitation of N'Sele farms is now a reality and it has started production 3 months after its inception. The farm now accommodates 12,000 day-old chicks per week, alongside some 106,000 broilers, 18,123 layer-chicks and 448 improved breed piglets comprising 400 sows, 43 boars and 5 ordinary piglets.
  • Since late December 2009, broilers weighing between 1.2 to 2.4 kg are on sale at ( CDF 2700 for live chicken (3 dollars) each, compared to frozen imported chickens that sell at prices ranging from 4,500 and 5,400 CDF each at markets in Kinshasa. 
  • Several sales outlets have been established for the public. N'Sele farms can now provide some 29,000 broilers on the market every week. Eggs will be on sale as from June 2010. 
  • Pork will also be available in the market in June 2010. 
  • Kinshasa’s estimated 10 million people are the primary beneficiaries of the N’sele Farms initiative and its success will surely inspire similar projects within the country: Kasai Oriental, Katanga and South Kivu, in particular.

The enterprise has turned out to be a pleasant surprise to the Bank’s DRC Resident Representative, Médjomo Coulibaly, and the project supervisor, Bakach Dikanda Kadiata. People are really amazed that in just under three months, the AfDB Response to the Food Crisis had delivered the much-sought after "Soso ya N'Sele” (the "N'Sele chicken is here”) which had been missing for decades. “The chicken sales launch on December 23, 2009, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and other government officials (including the Presidency), traditional leaders and beneficiaries, was a colorful event, covered by many national radio and television stations. The Bank has been commended severally for this brilliant action which leaves no one indifferent in the country," Mr. Kadiata said.

Furthermore, the N’Sele farms’ successful re-launch in record time appears to have strengthened the government’s determination to replicate the project in other parts of the country:

  • Expansion programme: the agriculture ministry plans to deploy US$ 5,987,860.36 remaining in the special account to finance the re-launch of three similar farms in the country’s interior;
  • Support individual small-scale livestock development by providing improved birds and animal breeds (poultry and pigs); as well as food production by small farmers, considered to be a major bottleneck in the country’s efforts to achieve food security;
  •  The organization of the poultry industry throughout DR Congo, under the auspices of the agriculture ministry, with actors from the public and private sectors, as well as technical and financial partners, to reflect on concrete ways of implementing the project within the framework of a national action plan.