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The agricultural and rural sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has significant growth margins and occupies a prominent place in the economy. However, the dilapidation of rural infrastructure and poor governmental support services is contributing to a significant decline in productivity.
Also, long-term conflict has created alarming levels of poverty and food insecurity. The food deficit is estimated at more than 30 percent and poverty is affecting 60 percent of the population.
The DRC has requested its partners, including the African Development Bank, for help in remedying the situation. Accordingly, the Agricultural and Rural Sector Rehabilitation Support Project (PARSAR) was identified for the Bandundu and Bas-Congo provinces, costing a total of UA 28.01 million, or the equivalent of USD 42.3 million, which was approved on 19 May 2004.
The overall project objective is to strengthen food security and contribute to reducing rural poverty through the stimulation of agricultural production in the Bandundu and Bas-Congo provinces, capacity building as well as the rehabilitation of socio-economic infrastructure, and the organization of basic community structures.
The momentum created around various PARSAR activities (seed production, agricultural produce processing units, markets, warehouses, roads, water sources, etc.) resulted in:
Upon project completion by the end of March 2012, the main achievements have been:
At project end, its achievements have had several significant effects. Associations and management committees realized the benefits of people grouping themselves around certain income-generating activities or the management of certain utilities.
Production areas have been made more accessible following the rehabilitation of rural roads. Travel time has been cut by more than half, and the tracks are receiving more traffic, especially food crop carriers and traders whose number has doubled. The cost of transporting goods and persons has been reduced by at least 20 percent and sometimes by more than 50 percent on some roads. The food products marketed in some markets have risen by about 100 tons per market day.