|Farmers shipping bags of corn to market.|
It is extremely difficult for rural farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo to get a fair price for their crops.
John Degbalese, a farmer from the Equateur Province, used to make less than $10 per month selling corn – not enough to keep his family from a life of poverty. Sadly, if he could afford to take his crops to sell at the market in Kinshasa, the capital city, he could earn considerably more income.
For John, the trip to Kinshasa is more than a 10-day journey that requires a boat to move down the Congo River; it is much too expensive for a farmer who is struggling to survive.
He doesn’t worry about survival anymore though.
Last year he became a participant in HOPE International Development Agency’s program that brings together other farmers just like him. As a cooperative, they work together to ensure that their hard work earns them a fair price – something they’ve never received before.
John used to earn $100 per year, this year he earned $2,700!
These incredible results happened because John received proper agricultural training, access to the right tools, and the support he needed to bring his corn to Kinshasa. His life is now drastically changed. He is able to provide for his family, send his children to school, and repay the money loaned to him at the beginning of the program.
Now, John is self-reliant. He doesn’t need our help anymore; he can provide for himself and can pass this knowledge down to others.
For farmers like John, the opportunity to earn more income is freedom. It means they can finally begin to dream about the future, rather than worry about it.