In mid-September, our Kinsevere operation and its surrounding villages received their first drops of rain. Since then, the rain has sparked enthusiasm among farmers who have returned to their field work and the agricultural opportunities that the rainy season brings. In November, local farmers were able to plant corn. While they wait for the harvest, many farmers are engaged in organic market gardening, which contributes to increasing sources of income.
Earlier this year, the local community market gardeners from the local community got together in the association Groupe des Maraichers de Kinsevere (GROMAK) association as they set out to enrich their soil with an ecological fertiliser comprised of chicken manure.
During routine visits to the villages, Kinsevere agronomists alerted GROMAK members to the importance of more natural, organic fertilisers. Local farmers had been using synthetic fertilisers for their vegetables and crops. The agronomists also informed them of the opportunity to obtain chicken manure free of charge from the Congo chicken breeding and egg farm, located along the power line road.
The village market gardeners saw an opportunity to increase their production, typically selling around two tonnes of fresh vegetables to the Kinsevere mine. Since then, tonnes of fertilisers have been regularly delivered to the villages in 25 kg bags. GROMAK’s agents now have a means to replenish their fund. For growers who are not members of the association, a bag cost around $5 each.
For ease of use, the chicken manure is aerated, then reduced with a rake for better spreading in the fields. Upon visiting the Kilongo village, Kinsevere Social Development Manager, Michel Santos insisted that the manure portions must be well balanced to prevent them from burning vegetable roots. This use of this quality fertiliser is a return to gardening technics used by the ancestors.
The market gardeners of GROMAK use a community fund to self-finance the transport of chicken manure from the farm to the village. For three years, the fund has allowed them to self-finance their purchase of inputs, in conjunction with Kinsevere’s training and capacity building support.
The gardeners have made good use of the fertiliser in their vegetables, including lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery, root vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers and zucchini.
Last month, the mine purchased through its service provider TS-CIS 2,230 $ for 3.61 tons of fresh products from GROMAK. This is an increase on previous years and has shown local farmers the importance of natural fertilisers and its advantage in nourishing the soil better than synthetic fertilisers.
The market gardeners are very happy with this ecological yet economical approach, and Kinsevere will continue to work with them to find innovative and environmentally-friendly methods to support increased crop production and livelihoods.