Fungi for better crops in DR Congo
About 70% of Congolese people live in rural areas and directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for their income. Farmers in the Katanga region, for example, face many chal- lenges: they often do not have access to mineral or organic fertilisers, the fertility of the soil continues to degrade, and they do not have the financial means to counter these problems, with a sometimes disastrous impact on agricultural production.
“Food security is the basis of development in DR Congo.” When Robert-Prince Mukobo tells us about his motivation to work on food security in his home country, he does not beat around the bush. “The productivity of Congolese people in all areas of life depends on their ability to be food secure.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations confirms that being food secure is important, as food insecurity impacts a country negatively in many ways, resulting, for example, in lower economic growth and productivity and a higher prevalence of disease.
As an agronomist, Mukobo is well-placed to function as the go-between for Congolese farmers and crop researchers. Reviewing research findings, he helps recommend food production solutions to local farmers. During his quest to improve food secu- rity in DR Congo, he has also participated in two VLIR-UOS research projects, during one of which he completed his PhD.