Central African refugees and host populations work hand-in-hand to feed the community
In Betou, a two-day drive from the Congolese capital, the World Food Programme and its partners have implemented a market gardening project that improves the food security of Central African refugees - increasingly numerous since the resurgence of violence in late 2020 - and the host populations. This northern region is affected by food shortages and devastating floods, washing away crops, destroying homes, roads, and many people’s livelihoods.
“We work with all our friends, both men and women of different tribes, who speak different languages. It's a blessing because we benefit from their culture and experience” says Honoré, a 65-year-old refugee from Central African Republic. He left his village across the border in 2014 because of the war, along with his wife, three children and two grandchildren.
When WFP launched the market garden project in 2021, Honoré formed the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ cooperative composed of Congolese and Central African farmers. They were provided with tools, seeds, and training, enabling them to sell the fruits and vegetables produced at the central market and to have greater access to nutritious and healthy food.
“Working in a group works better than working individually: we have to work hand-in-hand with everyone!” he adds.
Considering the food entitlements, 900 people benefit from the programme which, beyond food security, is a powerful vehicle for social cohesion.