A Social Business Incubator In The Eastern Congo
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ADPA: rice co-operative IMPROVING LIFE on the Rusizi Plain

 

The Rusizi Plain lies next to the country border between Congo and Burundi. The people living on the plain suffered throughout the first and second Congolese wars when troops moved across the border and thousands of Congolese refugees lived in camps alongside the 8,000 rice farmers squeezing a living from small plots. Today there are thousands of refugees from Burundi and the insecurity continues with several armed groups based in the area.

The insecurity has led the Monusco to classify the region as 'red', which is the highest level of concern and means we have to make arrangements with the authorities when travelling through the region. It's neither easy nor safe.

Decades of conflict and poverty have taken their toll on the people, especially the children. Malnutrition is widespread with many showing advanced signs of Kwashiorkor.

Happily, the region has begun to move forward thanks to the work of several rice co-operatives, the largest of which is ADPA who are based in Luvungi in the northern part of the plain. They pay a significantly better price than that available to the growers who sell in local markets and they provide credit for items such as school fees. They also provide agronomic advice to improve yields.

Ensemble Pour la Difference started working with ADPA in 2014 ago by facilitating a $30,000 loan to fund an order for 450 tonnes of rice from the Bralima Brewery in Bukavu. The loan enabled ADPA to buy and store sufficient rice during the 6-month harvesting period to continue monthly deliveries all year.

The loan also boosted Bralima’s confidence in ADPA and an annual contract for 650 tonnes was agreed for 2015. Ensemble agreed to increase the loan to $50,000 to facilitate the contract and we maintained our financial support when the order from Bralima was increased further in 2016 and again in 2017.

With our support, the order for 2018 is now at 1,000 tonnes and is making a systemic difference to life on the plain, most especially for the children. They are better fed and live in better houses. They go to school and medicine is affordable when they are ill.

Approximately 5,000 rice growers now supply ADPA, which means that approximately 30,000 children have felt the benefits.

The contract with Bralima and resulting progress has also enabled ADPA to begin implementing plans to eventually produce table rice as well as rice for Bralima without the need for loans.