As COVID-19 spread across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Katunga’s means to feed her family were threatened.
Living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was becoming increasingly terrifying and difficult as COVID-19 spread and the government restricted movement.
Without access to the city markets where she could sell her crop, 60-year-old Katunga had no way to generate income to feed her husband and four children.
As the disease threatened her future, Katunga had no idea that her life was about to permanently change.
For the last few years, Katunga has been part of an active agricultural training group that Tearfund and its partners established in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, she has been learning how to increase her crop output through new farming techniques such as intercropping and mulching.
Katunga even learned about the benefits of milk for weight gain and was excited by the thought that she could help her children sustain a healthy weight through milk. She exampled a small plot of land where she could grow vegetables. Her goal was to sell enough vegetables to buy milk for her children, and using the agriculture techniques that she had learned in the agricultural group, she started to grow potatoes.
However, when COVID-19 hit, Katunga was left with produce that she could not sell due to marketplace closures. To make things worse, many of her vegetables would quickly rot if she could not find people to buy them. In the Congo, electricity – much less refrigeration – is hard to find.
In the past, Katunga would often travel back and forth from larger cities to sell her produce, but single transportations were not allowed to travel because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
With the help of Tearfund partners, a farmer cooperative was established, which meant that farmers could work together to transport their produce in a larger collective truck while also combining their resources to sell their crops at a fair price. To add to this positive shift, donors like you helped establish local “canteens” (stores) where Katunga could sell her produce, rather than having to travel all the way to the larger cities!
But even with the added benefit of the farming cooperative and local stores, Katunga still faced the difficulty of storing her crops away from mice and natural degradation. In response, Tearfund’s church partner helped Katunga transition from growing leafy greens to produce that could be stored longer in a secure location, and the new onion, garlic, and ginger crops were the key to her being able to create a sustainable living.
As her own business grew during the pandemic, Katunga didn’t keep her knowledge to herself. She is now not only able to sell her potato seeds, but she is also working with her neighbors to train them in conservation agriculture! After seeing Katunga’s success in providing for her family, three farmers from her village paid her for training.
This generated an additional source of income, and Katunga is now able to share her story while providing a long-term sustainable livelihood for her family. She is also excited to work towards her dream of refurbishing her kitchen to help feed her husband and children.
“It is a privilege for me to say thank you to CBCA and their donors. Thanks to the project, I have been trained without paying anything. My life is transformed.”
Thanks to your generosity, Katunga’s life has been changed forever!