The work to build the platform-agropark for the processing of agricultural products in Lukula (Democratic Republic of the Congo) is finished. Economist Gianluca Bagnara is the consultant who as worked within a project co-financed by the World Bank.
The Lukula platform was built thanks to a grant ($11 million) from the World Bank on behalf of the Congolese Ministry of Finance, with the objective of stimulating the huge agricultural potential of the Country increasing its agro-industrial production, which currently depends a lot on imports.
The platform, which was built in 2019 and completed and tested in 2020, enables the processing of all those products typical of the equatorial area characterized by high quality and yet perishable due to their high water content.
"The first step was the processing line for cassava, which is as popular here as potatoes are in Europe. A line for the processing and drying of fruit was also set up. Other solutions concern palm oil and the drying of fresh agricultural products such as cereal and pulses. The World Bank gave its approval and endorsed testing. Now Texere Congo can connect around 400 hectares to the platform and organize the chain from the villages to the Kinshasa market. This is one of the few success stories when it comes to the development of agricultural chains in Africa, which has been made possible thanks to a joint-venture between Italy and Africa."
The machinery was designed and produced in Italy except for the palm oil extraction unit, which was built in China.
Waste water is disposed of in accordance with international environmental protection laws. What is more, all products can be classified as organic because the agricultural component does not use chemical fertilizers nor pesticides.
"With this $11 million project, we aim at filling this gap. The technology provided is fully Italian. The purpose is to provide work to local producers and platform managers and sell products including rice, corn and palm oil in the city."
This is unlike anything else that has happened in the past. There are no multinationals producing commodities to be exported abroad at a low cost. This project aims at organizing the entire chain, from the fields to national supermarkets.