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Urban farming more profitable than white-collar jobs for many Congolese

Kinshasa. Many city-dwellers are turning to urban farming to make a living. Photo: David Hecht/IRIN.

Green space throughout Kinshasa and other Congolese cities are being transformed into lucrative small urban farming enterprises that are doing a lot to raise incomes and lower malnutrition for urban residents.

28 June, 2011


“At first I doubted the ability of vegetable growers to pay back credit,” said Dick Mabiala, a credit agent at FINCA. “But I changed my mind when a lady growing fruit and vegetables took a $300 credit and came back to deposit $1,000 worth of profits into her account. The woman was only using two hectares of land for her enterprise.”

Farmers have seen their incomes increase dramatically. In Kinshasa and in the town of Lubumbashi the average annual income of each farmer increased from around $500 in 2004 to $2,000 in 2010. In Likasi town it rose from $700 to $3,500. There have been similar increases in other cities, according to the FAO statement.

Mabiala knew of vegetable growers who put themselves through college with the income they got faarming. But after their studies it was back to the land.

“After ending university studies they tell you they cannot look for an office job just for the prestige of wearing a clean shirt and tie, when they could be making $600-800,” he said.

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