Agriculture in the DRC

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, about 70 percent of the DRC population lacks access to an adequate food supply. Further, the World Health Organization has declared that the rate of chronic malnutrition in the country to be ‘critical’ among children under five. Those two organizations also noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, GDP growth generated by agriculture is by far the most effective route to reducing poverty — 11 times more so than GDP growth in any other sector. Kitoko can be a solution to the DRC’s problems of malnutrition and food security while at the same time lifting the farm’s workers out of poverty. With social, agricultural, educational and financial components, Kitoko is a pioneering project for private investment in international food security efforts in Africa. It is designed to be commercially viable, environmentally sustainable, and easily adaptable to other communities in Africa and the developing world.

GDP growth generated by
agriculture is 11x more effective
in reducing poverty
than any other
sector in sub-Shaharan Africa

Kitoko Food Farm

Kitoko operates in a cooperative kibbutz-style system, in which community residents tend to and benefit from the farm, ensuring maximum support and sustainability. With the support of the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF), development plans call for the construction of a primary school, a health clinic, housing for 60 families, and the construction of a practical agriculture training center. The farm, which currently employs 90 Congolese workers, is producing tons of peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and other vegetables, supplying local markets with fresh, high-quality produce at prices significantly lower than the cost of imported food. Within a year, Kitoko is expected to employ approximately 200 permanent Congolese workers, more than 80% of whom already live in nearby villages or within the grounds of the farm.

The farm is expected to employ
more than 200 permanent
Congolese workers
& will have
120 students annually

The Kitoko Kit

The Small, Medium and Large Kitoko Kits are the first in a series of innovations by Kitoko Food that uses a World Bank-approved irrigation process of Netafim Company in a self-contained no-fail vegetable production system to change subsistence agricultural production into country-wide sustainable food production. From rural areas to cities, the goal is to feed millions and decrease the government’s reliance on food imports to sustain the needs of its people. The Kitoko Kit will help farmers realize three excellent crop-yields each year, as opposed to the present single yield that is common across the DRC. In the Kitoko Kit, the irrigation is just a part of the solution. The kit also includes seeds, plant food, soil-specific fertilizer and pesticides. It is supported by a hands-on training program, regular agri-extension visits and a marketing component. Backed by extensive practical training and experience, each kit is tailored to site and crop circumstances, including soil and water quality, weather conditions, and seed varieties that are all researched to allow for special adapted mixtures of fertilizers and pesticides. In early 2014, Kitoko Food’s will have installed a sophisticated plastic covered vegetable plants and fruit trees nursery in its farm.

Our agriculture activities,
such as Kitoko Food, are
the cornerstone of our
entrepreneurial spirit. While
some exploit the wealth of the
land to foreign markets, we
target local consumption as our
first and immediate objective Dan Gertler
Senior Advisor, Fleurette Group

A Farm Like No Other in the DRC

Kitoko is led by renowned agronomists Gil Arbel, Max Muland, and Eric Mpongo, who combined have several decades of  agricultural experience on the African continent. Kitoko employs the latest and most innovative irrigation, fertigation, fertilization and soil analysis techniques. Building on the innovations developed by Mr. Arbel during his modernization of South African irrigation and intensive value added agriculture, Kitoko is projected to become one of Africa’s leading agricultural centers of excellence in the near future.

Thanks to advances in irrigation technology and fertilization techniques — and combined with the favorable Congolese climate — the Kitoko Food farm is projected to have two to four full harvest yields each calendar year, which will have a significant impact on local food supplies and prices. When adopted as a model for the nation, Kitoko will play an important role in bringing food security to the DRC.

We're Planting the Seeds of Change

Kitoko’s employees and managers will plant, grow and harvest using the latest in agricultural technology and farming intelligence, creating the foundation for a new Agriculture Research and Development Center producing vital local knowledge provided to farming ventures throughout the country. As the number of Kitoko-trained farmers multiply and sprout their own fresh food farms, Kitoko’s effect on the DRC’s food security will expand exponentially. That is how Kitoko is “Growing the Difference.”