Sustainable agricultural investments : our results


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disbursed towards the agricultural sector (June 2019)



In the DRC, 8 provincial and 2 sectoral programmes are underway. In Gabon, a programme is under development to map out agricultural potential and to intensify crop production.

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In DRC, the launch of reform on sustainable management of agriculture ; in Gabon, an engagement in the LoI not to convert HCS/HCV forests for agricultural use ; in the Republic of Congo, an Inter-ministerial Decree (2018) to orient agro-industrial activities over 5 ha in savannas


Agricultural activities in the Central African region have been predominantly linked to village agriculture, that mainly supplies local markets and nearby urban centers. This production often involves inefficient land practices as farmers lack access to capital and adequate risk-management mechanisms to sustainably increase yields.

To date, industrial agriculture has had limited impact on forest cover - with the exception of oil palm and rubber plantations, set up near large roads. Yet, due to growing local, regional and international demand and the increasing role of agro-business, commercial agriculture has and will have an increasing impact on forests in all CAFI countries. 


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In the DRC,  

the first objective of the Letter of Intent is to develop and implement, in a participatory and transparent manner, an agricultural policy that contributes to rural development and national food security while limiting the current and future impact on forests.  

To that effect, a sectoral programmes reform the agricultural policy was approved by the National REDD+ Fund (FONAREDD) Steering Commitee in 2017, and another to redirect agriculture towards savannahs in 2019.  

And already, CAFI/ FONAREDD-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, over the next 5 years, to: 

  • establish a 160,000 hectares of sustainable subsistence agriculture
  • plant 3,500 hectares of agroforestry
  • establish 25,650 hectares of cash crops
  • set aside 60,000 hectares for natural regeneration, that will help increase food productivity 


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In Gabon,  

Gabon's National Investment Framework will help reduce emissions from the land use sector by 50% by 2025, with agricultural expansion avoiding as much as possible High Carbon Stocks (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) forests. The NIF also seeks to reduce the share of imported agricultural products by increasing efficient subsistence agriculture.

The Letter of Intent signed between CAFI and Gabon requires, among other milestones, that

  • Gabon signs the Marrakech Declaration for Sustainable Oil Palm and adopts a National Action Plan
  • National guidelines and definitions are adopted to ensure that HCS and HCV forests will not be converted to other land uses
  • A policy on a carbon-neutral approach to the conversion of non-HCS/HCV forest to other land uses is developed and implemented

The CAFI-funded programme will produce a national land use plan that will precisely map the agricultural potential of lands for strategic crops such as hevea, coco and sugar cane, and complement existing studies for oil palm. Through this process, which areas are best for each commercial crop will become clearer. The National observation system, developed under the same programme, will monitor agricultural activities.  



The Republic of Congo's

development vision is to encourage economic diversification, first and foremost in the agricultural sector. To signal its commitment to ensure that this does not happen at the expense of forests, the Government has signed the Marrakesch Declaration and developed a related action plan.  

In order to preserve forest ecosystems, the Republic of Congo National Investment Framework thus focuses on making savannahs more attractive for subsistence agriculture, and on establishing any new industrial agricultural concession in savannahs. In addition, measures will support specific production in forest areas, such as shade-grown- cocoa, and intensifying agroforestry production of manioc and bananas. To do so, an agricultural policy and regulations will be adopted.  

And the Letter of Intent (2019) commits the Government to support the sustainable development of the agricultural sector by directing agro-industrial plantations, including palm oil, to savannah areas in compliance with environmental requirements, and by promoting zero-deforestation agroforestry for small-scale farming practices in forest areas, and to support soils research to identify savannah areas suitable for palm oil development.

The LoI also recalls that the development of the agricultural sector will take into account the principles of

  • non-conversion of HCS/HCV forests
  • protection and sustainable development of peatlands to prevent them from being drained or dried out
  • limited and carbon-neutral conversation of non-HCS/HCV forests
  • compensation for biodiversity and carbon losses
  • compliance with customary land title rights; and
  • transparency in terms of agricultural land planning and allocation for agro-industrial plantations

In Equatorial Guinea,

a new study-  completed with CAFI's preparatory grant and FAO support - showed that despite a large potential, national agricultural production does not suffice to cover the population needs. As a result, the country imports over 80% of its food - at an increased cost for consumers. The study also shows that agriculture contributed to 4% of deforestation during the period 2004-2014 (making it the 2nd driver, but not taking roads into account), and represented 41% of forest degradation (with 40% due to subsistence agriculture and only 1% to intensive commercial agriculture).