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SOURCE Kitoko Food Farm
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
A World Bank delegation visited Kitoko Food Farm on Saturday to learn more about the Fleurette Group's innovative agriculture model to address the country's chronic food shortages and advance its agricultural and economic development by equipping Congolese with the tools and skills needed to become self-sufficent in food production. Late last month, the World Bank made its first visit to Kitoko.
The World Bank delegation, which included a Senior Agriculture Specialist and a Senior Water Specialist from its DRC country office, toured the 650-hectare (1,600-acre) farm, which sits along the N'sele River some 50km (30 miles) outside of Kinshasa, the DRC capital. The delegation viewed Kitoko's 13 hectares (32-acres) of vegetable and fruit crops currently under production, its greenhouses, state-of-the-art irrigation system and other aspects of the farm.
"It was a pleasure to again receive the World Bank at Kitoko," said Max Muland, Kitoko Food Farm head agronomist. "We greatly appreciate their interest in our model and how it can work in all of the DRC's 11 provinces."
The visit took place as the Africa Progress Panel called for greater investment in farming and fishing to alleviate chronic food shortages in parts of the continent. In his foreword to the APP's report for 2014 Kofi Annan, chairman of the panel, said: "The world's burgeoning population needs to be fed and Africa, our continent, is well positioned to do so. We have enough resources to feed not just ourselves but other regions too.
"We must seize this opportunity now. Africa's productivity levels, already beginning to increase, could easily double within five years. Indeed, our smallholder farmers, most of them women, have repeatedly proven how innovative and resilient they can be. So why are they not yet thriving? The unacceptable reality is that too many African farmers still use methods handed from generation to generation, working their lands or grazing their animals much as their ancestors have done for millennia."
Kitoko Food Farm, as a privately funded agriculture project, is the first of its kind in decades in the DRC to invest in high-tech vegetable and fruit production while simultaneously transferring skills to Congolese farmers and agronomists.
The ambitious project reflects Fleurette's determination to ensure that DRC can produce enough food to feed its growing population. Kitoko is the country's only true attempt at demonstrating commercial large scale farming is not just possible, but can be successful.
Mr. Dan Gertler is a Senior Advisor to the Fleurette Group, one of the largest private companies in the DRC with significant investment in diverse sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, technology and infrastructure development.
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