Agricultural Project Transforms Lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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In the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kasai Oriental province, farmer Shosho Mukanya lives and works in the community of Katende. In the past, Shosho struggled to make ends meet and pay his children's school fees. But today, he is a well-respected businessman in his community and all of his children have returned to school, with two of them enrolled in university.

Shosho was able to resolve his challenges after participating in Catholic Relief Services project through which he learned new agriculture techniques and practices that helped him generate additional income. In 2017, Shosho joined CRS’ resilient food security project called Budikadidi, which translates as “self-reliance” in the local Tshiluba language.

At that time, Katende community members had some of the lowest income levels among all project participants. While they relied primarily on agriculture for income, production was low and their access to local markets was limited. Budikadidi provided training on production and marketing as, well as on establishing producer organizations, managing small businesses and planning farm activities.

Encouraged by project staff members, Shosho devoted his time to improving farm operations and linking with local markets. He also learned new farming techniques, including how to assess soil quality before selecting where to plant, and intercropping and rotating crops. 

Shosho leveraged these skills to join a producer organization consisting of 30 farmers was elected president.

“Thanks to agricultural technology adapted to our soil, yields have increased significantly, and I can make a profit,” Shosho says. “My children are back at school, and I can support them until they finish university.”

Prior to participating in Budikadidi, Shosho specialized in small-scale farming on about 2 1/2  acres of land with a budget of $800. Two seasons later, with the knowledge gained from participating in the CRS project, Shosho’s small-scale farm increased to 5 acres with an operating account of over $2,700. In addition, he bought three motorized pumps to water his land and established partnerships with an international company, vegetable traders, restaurants in major hotels and wholesale retailers.

Under Shosho’s leadership, his producer organization was selected to receive a loan from a local bank, which the members intend to use to establish a 37-acre farm and access the machines needed to cultivate it.

"I never thought I'd be important, but thanks to my work in the fields, I've been approached by important people in Mbujimayi, Boya and Miabi,” Shosho says.


Budikadidi is a resilience and food security project that improves nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of two. The program was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Department of Humanitarian Assistance. More than 87,500 households across 484 villages in the Kasai Oriental province of the Democratic Republic of Congo participated in the project. Catholic Relief Services led this 7-year project in partnership with the National Cooperative Business Association, Sun Mountain International, Tufts University, Caritas Mbuji-Mayi, ReFED and Reseau des Associations Congolaises des Jeunes. Budikadidi addresses the areas of agriculture and livelihoods, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene programs and governance. The integrated activities are based on global evidence and appropriately adapted to the local context, working to strengthen existing systems, improve accountability, strengthen social cohesion and reduce barriers to structural, cultural and gender-based change.