DR Congo

With more than 80 million hectares of arable land, Congo is unquestionably one of Africa’s largest agricultural countries. Yet just 10 % of its land is cultivated today.

Palm oil is one of the main staple food throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo and now plays a key role in the daily diet of all Congolese.

The oil palm originates from the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa, where it was semi-domesticated in a harvesting system.
Before independence, Congo – which was known as the breadbasket of Africa – had huge potential in multiple sectors. The cultivation of the oil palm, which started in the country’s central basin, was developed and industrialised over the decades. By the 1970s, Zaire was the world’s second largest exporter of palm oil.

Today, the national production curve has unfortunately reversed. The DRC has become an importer, and the production deficit is growing: it is estimated at 40 % of national demand, and scarcely 250 000 hectares of palm plantations are currently being commercially operated.

This deficit is widening from year to year for two reasons:
- increasing industrial demand (soap-making, refining, margarine production, etc.);
- growing demographic pressure.

Agriculture, the DRC’s leading economic sector, represents about 60 % of the country’s GDP and employs nearly 66 % of its active workforce.

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