Call edition 2012

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An integrated production system at the level of small-scale family businesses in the outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC

Emilie VAUTRAVERS student laureate

°1979 France
Master of ecology, Université Paris VI, France, 2003

Un système de production intégré à l'échelle des petites exploitations familiales en périphérie de Kinshasa, RDC

Poverty in the city and outskirts of the city lead to a proliferation of agricultural activities in these areas. This results in social, economic and environmental problems which threaten the sustainability of small-scale family businesses.

The writer bases her work on an experiment in Colombia in which cattle farming and vegetable production is integrated to solve the above-mentioned problems: it concerns a sustainable system with a diet that is as varied as possible for the farmer’s family, an income from the extra production and a minimum of disruption to the environment. The writer studies the possibility of introducing this system to the outskirts of Kinshasa, in the knowledge that environmental factors in and around the city have to be very similar to those in Columbia.

First, a detailed study is made of the environment in and around Kinshasa and the writer comes to the conclusion that there are enough similarities between the two situations. This is followed by a description of the concrete situation and a summary of possible problems and bottlenecks. The discussion of the actual integrated system is preceded by a highly detailed description of the animal and vegetable production components of the system. The writer concludes with a general discussion and offers her view of the possible introduction of the system into other regions in Africa.

This is a highly detailed work which contains both data from the literature and the writer’s own observations; if validated, this document could undoubtedly be used as a reference work for similar studies. The production data, fertilizer balance sheets, output tables and graphs have a direct practical value, but can also be used together with the enclosed questionnaires as a blueprint for further work. Finally, the writer places her work in a broader context and indicates how the proposed methodology can be used in a more global fight against poverty, malnutrition and disease.

report: Prof. D. Berkvens, Veterinary Science department, Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium