The objective of the EU REDD Facility was to provide technical assistance to set up a local agroforestry cooperative in South Kwamouth, located in the Maï Ndombe province of the DRC. The technical assistance supported the creation and operationalisation of Groupement d’intérêt coopératif et économique du terroir Téké (GICET Nsia Mala Mala). The aim of the GICET cooperative is to help sustain investments made by the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) through the Novacel South Kwamouth (NSK) REDD+ project. It also aims to expand agroforestry activities and provide a model for similar REDD+ investment initiatives in the future emissions reduction programme area of Maï Ndombe, the first jurisdictional REDD + programme in the DRC.
South Kwamouth sits on the Batéké Plateau in the south of the Maï Ndombe Province. Located 250 km from Kinshasa, the area supplies agricultural products and charcoal to meet the growing market demand in the Congolese capital. Slash and burn agriculture is the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation in the area. Poverty and dependence on revenues from the sale of undervalued agricultural products are the underlying causes of forest loss. Farmers face many problems in the area including land grabbing, poor soil fertility, lack of transport infrastructure, limited access to modern agricultural means of production and to basic social services like education and health.
The NSK project was launched in 2011 as one of DRC’s first REDD+ pilot projects. The project aims to reduce deforestation through the promotion of sustainable agroforestry techniques and to strengthen the economic livelihoods of the population, including basic social services. The NSK project, however, will end in March 2016, raising the question of how to ensure future support to communities and their agricultural production.
The creation of a cooperative aims to address these challenges through:
Presentation of the poster explaining GICET’s functioning by a member of the CLSD of Botulu
The EU REDD Facility provided technical assistance to set up and operationalise the cooperative in partnership with local and international organisations. The action began with the transferral of 10 000 ha of customary property from four pilot villages to the GICET. Through a participatory process, communities helped identify, map and demarcate the savannah land. The terrain was valued based on its agronomic potential and its distance from the main roads and water sources. This information was used to develop a business plan for the cooperative, together with proposals on institutional arrangements. In parallel, a team of communication experts engaged with communities and local leaders to inform and consult villagers about the cooperative, adhering to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) guidelines. Communication tools were disseminated in the community to explain the cooperative concept including posters, radio messages and a song composed by a local orchestra. Support was also provided to help build community structures in local development committees.
The GICET’s extraordinary general assembly in Boku on 2 October 2015 brought together more than thirteen local chieftaincies