Central Africa region

Central hub

Agro-ecologically, Central Africa contains important rainfall gradients with maxima in the Congo basin moving towards semi-arid areas north and south although most of the region has lengths of growing period of more than 210 days. As a result, the most prominent farming systems are forest-based, root crop systems, cereal-root crop systems, and tree crop systems with many people living within highland perennial systems.

Mixed systems are less present although ruminant densities are relatively high in northern Cameroon, southern Chad, southern Angola, and the eastern Highlands. Due to the high rainfall, most soils in Central Africa are old and weathered and have lost a lot of their inherent nutrient stocks and fertility. The Central Africa region is also home to some of the last remaining primary forests in Africa.

Notwithstanding the relatively high agricultural potential of the region, poverty is widespread with over 75% of the population living below 2 US dollars per day. Several challenges to intensify agriculture are apparent: (i) over half of the territory of Central Africa has poor market access, (ii) the current use of agricultural inputs is basically nil, resulting in very low crop productivity, and (iii) national investment in agricultural development are still low though some recent signals show important improvements.

While most of our current R4D activities are implemented in DR Congo, Cameroon, Burundi, and Rwanda, initiatives are taken to get engaged in the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Gabon.

Research Highlights

  • Healthy banana planting materials in Burundi
  • Climate change strategies in Efoulan, Cameroon
  • Controlling banana bunchy top in Cameroon
  • Processing for quality cassava flour in DR Congo
  • ISFM boosts productivity of cassava-based systems in DRC

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