DRC: from food security to Upemba park conservation
02-08-2019 | di COOPI

DRC: from food security to Upemba park conservation

The Upemba National Park in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been designated a UNESCO Biodiversity Reserve.

Despite its rich biodiversity, local communities are food insecureMalnutrition rate now exceeds the emergency threshold by 14% - communities lacking of means of subsistence and being cut off from local markets, due to roads’ breakdowns, resorted to illegal activities, such as poaching, to survive.

To strengthen food and nutrition security of the those communities, ensure their sustainable development and preserve the biodiversity of the park, we are implementing the "Food security and nutrition for the population living near the Upemba National Park (PNU) in the territories of Mitwaba and Malemba N'Kulu" project, funded by the European Union.

This three-year project started in December 2017 and will contribute to increase the resilience of 90,646 vulnerable farmers, including 47,136 women, 18,129 children and 25,381 men.

As regards food security cluster for example, between 2018 and 2019, six community structures produced 7.7 tonnes of maize, beans and peanuts - seeds have been distributed to about 1,938 families and will be sown during the next agricultural year, which will take place in September 2019.

Seeds’ distribution will improve the resilience of these families, alongside with income-generating activities, related to agriculture, small businesses management, poultry, pig and goat farming.

With an area of 11,730 km2, the Upemba National Park is home to over 1,800 species of plants, birds and animals. The reserve is rich in biodiversity, but is threatened by poaching, illegal fishing and exploitation of mineral and wood resources.

The social and economic fabric of agro-pastoral communities has been destroyed after many years of war – this is why it is even more urgent to strengthen their resilience to ensure a sustainable development and preserve the Upemba valuable ecosystem.