Land Shares Help Farmers in Central Africa Plant Peace
Three times a week, a group of smallholder farmers work together in a community field in Kirolirwe, a village in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Recently, the group prepared the soil before planting potatoes.
"Let's go!" shouted the team leader. They encouraged each another to work harder.
Nearly 200,000 displaced persons fled to camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of violence in the east. Most people there say land disputes are one of the root causes of the area's conflicts.
So recently, large landowners have been asked to free up more of their land to individual farmers interested in cultivating crops.
Is this a solution to the land problem?
An organization called FOPAC is teaching this group better farming methods like sowing improved seeds in straight line furrows. It is also showing the farmers how to remove grass instead of burying it, and to use animal waste as fertilizer.
Mumbere Makuke works for FOPAC as a farming adviser.
He says the surrounding hills are owned by Olive Lembe, the wife of Joseph Kabila. Kabila is the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Much of the land once was cultivated. Mumbere Makuke says, the person Olive Lembe bought the property from last year stopped planting crops. Now, the land is mainly grassland.
Lembe is now urging smallholders to grow crops on some of her land, which she has renamed Hope Farm. Many local people have trouble gaining use of the land. Ranchers bought much land in the area, often on dubious terms.
Hope Farm requires farmers to make payments for use of the land, and payments have risen sharply in recent years.
Mumbere Makuke says the usual rental payment in this area for one hectare is $200 for a season of four months. Many people rent smaller fields of about 400 square meters for $10 a season.
FOPAC tries to avoid conflict with ranchers whose animals often eat farmers' crops.
He says "We decided to dig ditches around the fields to stop cattle from getting across."
Reporter Nick Long says the farmers he spoke with seemed happy with the new farming techniques. But there is little manure available for their own fields. Also, improved potato seeds cost $1,600 for the two tons needed to plant one hectare.
That is a lot of money for many farmers. Josaphat Musansa is an agricultural researcher. He says many farmers are not wealthy enough to pay rent, let alone buy tons of improved seeds.
He says those farmers can use land if they give a share of their harvest, often 20 percent, to the landowner or manager. But as improved techniques take hold, some landowners may not be satisfied with a 20 percent share of what is likely to be a poor harvest.
Unless the government introduces policies to help smallholder farmers, they will have less and less land to use in this area. Smallholders risk becoming landless laborers as people with more money outbid them for access to land.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.work together 合作；共事
Let us sink our differences and work together.
2.displaced persons 流离失所的人；难民
The UN refugee agency assists nearly 22 million refugees and displaced persons around the world
联合国难民机构向全世界近2 200万难民和流离失所者提供援助 。
3.land disputes 土地纠纷
The ball was the highlight of the London season.
4.free up 空出；腾出；挪出
When you focus on simplifying your life, you free up energy and time for the work that you enjoy and the purpose for which you are here.
1.Lembe is now urging smallholders to grow crops on some of her land, which she has renamed Hope Farm. Many local people have trouble gaining use of the land. Ranchers bought much land in the area, often on dubious terms.
have troublein 在...方面有困难；无法...
We do have trouble in our relationship, but I feel that we can work it out between us without professional help.
The Japanese banks have been in trouble ever since the economic bubble burst in 1990.
2.That is a lot of money for many farmers. Josaphat Musansa is an agricultural researcher. He says many farmers are not wealthy enough to pay rent, let alone buy tons of improved seeds.
let alone 更不用说；更别提
He can not speak English, let alone French.
He could barely keep body and soul together let alone support his family.
“走，干活去！”领头的村民很兴奋 。他们相互鼓励着要更加辛勤地劳作 。
因为东部持续的暴力活动，近20万流离失所的难民涌进刚果民主共和国安营扎寨 。这里的人表示，土地纠纷是引发地区冲突的根源之一 。
一个名为FOPAC的组织正在教农民耕种的方法，例如在犁好的直沟中播种改良后的种子 。他们还展示了无需翻埋就可以除草等种植方式，还有用动物粪便作为肥料 。
Mumbere Makuke是FOPAC组织的农业顾问 。
大部分土地之前都是耕地 。Mumbere Makuke称，但去年成为奥丽芙.郎贝夫人的私有土地之后便停止耕种 。现在这片土地成了茫茫的绿原 。
郎贝夫人现在开始鼓励个体农户在这片土地上耕种 。她将这片土地重新命名为希望农场 。大部分当地人是没有土地使用权的 。农场主通常是通过私下交易购得该地区的土地 。
Mumbere Makuke表示，该地区的租金是每四个月二百美元一公顷 。许多人选择用每四个月十美元的价格租种约四百平方米的小块土地 。
记者尼克.朗称，他采访过的农民似乎对这个办法很满意 。但是土地的肥料来源——动物粪便也随之减少了 。另外，一公顷土地需要两吨改良的马铃薯种子，该花费高达1600美元 。
这对大多数农民来说可不是一笔小数目 。Josaphat Musansa是一名农业研究员 。他说，农民连租金都交不起，更别提买成吨的种子了 。
他还表示，农民也可以把收成的20%给农场主用来抵租金 。但是随着技术逐渐改良，一些地主可能不再满足于收成的20% 。
如果政府无法推出新的政策来帮助这些个体农户，他们可以种植的土地就会越来越少 。加之富裕的农场主们不停地用高价购置土地，这些小农户最后很可能会无地可耕 。