'Congolese agriculture faces enormous challenges'

Former VRT reporter Guy Janssens travelled to Congo with the support of Trias to train specialised journalists. 'The challenges for agriculture are enormous,' said Janssens.
Trias commissioned Guy Janssens and VILT-reporter Michiel Van Meervenne to spend a week in Kinshasa. During their week in the Congolese capital, they helped local reporters shoot footage of farm leaders presenting their views.
These videos will be used in the run-up to the general elections to educate politicians as well as inform the members of the farmers’ organisations. 'It was very pleasant to cooperate with our Congolese colleagues,' says Guy Janssens. 'The production company has considerable experience and a talent for improvisation. In a country such as Congo, this is probably a way to survive.'
Now the processes of democratisation are slowly developing in Congo, farmers' movements are better able to join forces. In recent years, Trias has invested strongly with other partners to represent the interests of family farming. In agricultural terms, the social sector is becoming more and more established.

It was very pleasant to cooperate with our Congolese colleagues.

Guy Janssens

Nevertheless, Guy Janssens noted that Congolese agriculture still faces enormous challenges. 'The possibilities to sell products with the aim of securing an income are very limited. One of the most important duties for organisations such as Trias is to create a sense for the market'.

Cooperative solutions

Other challenges include transportation infrastructure, the storage of harvested crops, regulations for land ownership and access to microcredit. 'Cooperative solutions are often appropriate. Farmers might, for instance, work together to store their harvest jointly,' said Janssens.