I am Jean-Julien, a trained business professional who happened to be very passionate about organic and sustainable agriculture and started the Luabu Farming Project, a 300-acre rural farm in the Maluku suburb, 120 kilometres East of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2007, I got introduced to farming by accident when visiting my parents. I never knew that one day I would fall in love with farming to such an extent that I made it a second passion after sport. At the time, it felt like I was contributing to a greater initiative and providing jobs to communities, often forgotten, of the Maluku suburb. Today I help in securing funding while promoting and showcasing our agricultural products and results.
Rebuilding my community through farming projects has not only enabled many families to benefit from the sale of our products but also to grow and learn about new applications.
The current state of the agricultural sector in the country pushed me to find solutions to the needs of the poor population that mostly live from artisanal and small scale organic farming, be it for sustenance or commercialisation to sustain households, we have seen a growing number of unskilled farming operations throughout the city and beyond, thus the need to facilitate training and provide a proper land to assist in capacity building and to mostly women that constitute more than 80% of rural farmers within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The groundwork of this venture started prior to 2007 and we have been able to develop a non-chemical fertilizer called “Amonile Fertilizer” from compost. This led to the Luabu Farming Project under my leadership that works with communities in testing the fertilizer on a number of crops that are common to the population and that can easily be commercialised to enable the community members to not only provide for their families but also to learn how to become entrepreneurial by selling produce from the farm which they are stakeholders of.
Our community work in this instance includes:
- Providing the right farming environment far from the overpopulation and extensions of built areas;
- Tackling cadastral issues regarding the invasion of green spaces by small farmers
- Enabling farmers to utilise the right resources to prevent the practice of extensive farming on weak extents;
- Providing a fertiliser that solves the loss of fertility and low productivity
- Fostering sustainable agriculture by improving mineral fertilisers productivity and quality to lower dependency on high-cost fertilisers and toxic chemicals.
The Luabu Farm Project would like to increase testing of its Amonile-Fertilizer on fruit and cereal crops, mainly hybrid maize, sorghum, oranges, grapes, and berries to plan its commercialisation and implementation on large scale farming since its safer than any fertilizer and completely mineral-based.
We have done previous trials on various organic maize crops, pineapple, pumpkin, eggplants, cassava and beans, however, we would like to focus on fruits and cereals toward the coming year in order to start processing and marketing the farm production.
My mission is to be able to create sustainable communities where healthier people could grow nutritious food to sustain themselves and be able to earn an income from it. Furthermore, I would like to provide small scale farmers with the resources and learning that will enable them to transform their underproductive farms to small production farms with the skills and reserves we will be provided in addition to seeds and fertilisers.
20 acres of the current land will be provided free to farmers for the trials as we have spent the previous years laying the groundwork and making our vision a reality in Maluku.
We pride ourselves to have found a solution applicable to small and large scale farming that will benefit developing countries and increase sustainable organic farming with an emphasis on empowering smallholder farmers.
This will reduce drastically importation and cost of chemical fertilisers, reconstitute the nourishing research surface of impoverished soils, increase soil natural mineral elements for harmonious growth of plants.
Therefore, as our long term plan, we will aim to build a semi-artisanal production of 3000 tons of the Amonile Fertilizer per year with a low-cost process.
Amonile Fertilizer was tested on agro-park in the Bas-Congo region and had proven results on maize from South Africa, Romania and Kasai.
With the current resources available on the farm, we plan to raise USD10,000 that will enable us to action the upcoming trial on fruits and cereals by purchasing:
- A solar water pump system
- Hiring a hoeing tractor
- Purchasing irrigation systems
- Seed protection mat
- and have a skilled agronomist to share knowledge with our village farmers.
Our goal is to remodel sustainable farming practices in the country, starting with one community at a time and to enable farmers to learn from and replicate our work on their own farms.
In the future, I imagine the Luabu Farming Project to become a sustainable learning environment for small scale farmers, where they can test their crops prior to extending them to farm fields.
Your help in seeing this project come to life and a short documentary to be the outcome of the donation will go a long way to help support a small community in a far land.