I am Sean Intiomale, also known as Jean-Julien Mbonino Intiomale, 32 years old trained legal and management professional, Co-founder of the Luabu Farm, a 197-acre rural farm in Menkau, Maluku suburb, 120 kilometres East of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2007 I got introduced to farming by accident when visiting my parents. I never knew that one day I would fall in love with farming to such an extent that I made it a passion. At the time, it felt like I was contributing to a greater initiative and providing jobs to communities, often forgotten, of the Maluku suburb, but when my marketing background didn’t help in securing funding while promoting and showcasing our agricultural products and results to banks, companies and even chambers of commerce, I made it a mission to rebuild my community through agricultural production, research and development.
The current state of the agricultural sector in the country pushed me to find solutions to the needs of the poor population that mostly live from artisanal and small scale organic farming, be it for sustenance or commercialisation to sustain households, we have seen a growing number of unskilled farming operations throughout the city and beyond, thus the need to facilitate training and provide a proper land to assist man, but mostly women that constitute more than 80% of rural farmers within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The ground work of this venture started prior to 2007 and we have been able to develop a non-chemical fertilizer called “Amonile Fertilizer” with the assistance of a team of scientists from the University of Kinshasa. This led to the creation of the African Social and Economic Development Initiatives (ASEDI/IDESA), a Non-Governmental Organisation under my leadership that works with communities in testing the fertilizer on a number of crops that are common to the population and that can easily be commercialised to enable the community members to not only provide for their families, but also to learn how to become entrepreneurial by selling produce from the farm.
Our community work in this instance includes:
- Providing the right farming environment far from the over population and extensions of built areas;
- Tackling cadastral issues regarding the invasion of green spaces by small farmers
- Enabling farmers to utilise the right resources to prevent practice of extensive farming on weak extents;
- Providing a fertiliser that solves loss of fertility and low productivity
- Fostering sustainable agriculture by improving mineral fertilisers productivity and quality to lower dependency on high cost fertilisers and toxic chemicals.
By end-2017, Luabu Farm would like to have fully tested its Amonile-Fertilizer on fruit and cereal crops, mainly hybrid maize, sorghum, oranges, grapes, and berries to plan its commercialisation and implementation on the farm on a large scale for more productivity. We have done previous trials on various organic maize crops, pineapple, pumpkin, egg plants, cassava and beans, however we would like to focus on fruits and cereals toward the coming year in order to start processing and marketing the farm production.
My mission is to be able to create sustainable communities where healthier people could grow nutritious food to sustain themselves and be able to earn an income from it. Furthermore, I would like to provide small scale farmers with the resources and learning that will enable them to transform their underproductive farms to small production farms with the skills and reserves we will be providing in addition to seeds and fertilisers. 20 acres of the current land will be provided for the trials as we have spent the previous years laying the groundwork and making our vision a reality in Maluku.
We pride ourselves to have found a solution application to small and large scale farming that will benefit countries in development phase of their agricultural sector with emphasis on smallholder farmers. This will reduce drastically importation and cost of chemical fertilisers, reconstitute the nourishing research surface of impoverished soils, increase soil natural mineral elements for a harmonious growth of plants. Therefore, as our long term plan, we will aim to build a semi-artisanal production of 3000 tons of the Amonile Fertilizer per year with a low cost process.
Amonile Fertilizer was tested on ZETECO agro-park in the Bas-Congo region and had proven results to be spread on 25 hectares of maize from South Africa, Romania and Kasai 1. The application in the second and fourth week of growth shown greater seed results. Currently, trials are applied in the Plateau de Bateke, Menkau in Maluku, where the Luabu Farm is located, as well as in the Mai-Ndombe, Congo Brazzaville and Israel, where it was sent for testing.
With the current resources available on the farm, the USD5000 grant will enable us to action the upcoming trial on fruits and cereals by purchasing:
- A solar water pump system, $1500
- Hiring a hoeing tractor, $850
- Purchasing irrigation systems, $800
- Seed protection mat, $500
- A Milling machine, $1235
Our goal is to remodel sustainable farming practices in the country, starting with one community and to enable farmers to learn from and replicate our work on their own farms. In the future, I imagine owning a farm on which 10 different type of agricultural products are farmed and which can expend to raising livestock with the spoilt produce since the aim is to support ourselves and our community.
Blogpost and pictures submitted by Sean Intiomale (Democratic Republic of Congo) – sjintiomale(at)hotmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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