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Slope vs. terrace farming

The province of South Kivu faces climate conditions which are adverse to the preservation of the environment. Located at more than 1500 meters of altitude, it is very hilly, prone to abundant rainfalls 9 months out of 12.

The density of population is strong (90 inhabitants per km ², 3 times higher than the national average and rises to 250 in the most populated areas, which are also our action zones). Moreover, agriculture, which is unsophisticated and practiced on

impoverished plots, provides 7 out of 10 jobs. The plots, with an average size of 0.8 ha (the average size needed to the subsistence of a household of 6 people is 1.5 ha) are cultivated for ¼ on a medium slope, and 1/3 on a steep slope.

In that respect, the training provided to the populations by our local partners therefore promotes an environmentally friendly practice. They remind or introduce essential methods: fallow, organic composting (animal and vegetable compost) aimed at soil improvement.

But one of the most acute problems is the erosion of sloping soils, deforested and leached by tropical rains. 2 solutions can be implemented. First of all, agroforestry: planting selected species in the middle of crops whose deep roots fix the soil, but whose leaves also provide a fertilizer crops.

Then, barely practiced in the Congo, but more widespread in neighboring Rwanda, terraced cultivation: it consists essentially of a series of horizontal strips, extending across the slope and supported by steep slopes. These embankments are built either in earth protected by vegetation, or in stone walls if available. In the areas where we act, these terraces will have to be built and cultivated by hand because accessibility is difficult, the roads do not exist. Due to the infrastructure to be implemented, we plan to promote this technique as part of our upcoming projects.


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