Piloting a Hill Approach for Resilient Agriculture in South Kivu
Smallholder farmers in South Kivu experience high levels of food insecurity and poverty, with low agricultural productivity and few off-farm income opportunities. Much of the farmland on the hills that are nestled between Lake Kivu and Kahuzi Biega National Park suffers from soil erosion and low soil fertility, resulting in low crop yields. Many of these hills are owned by absentee landlords who rent out plots to smallholder farmers. The lack of tenure security discourages farmers from investing in soil and water conservation measures that could reduce erosion and increase agricultural productivity. By working jointly with landowners, tenant farmers and local authorities, the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)-funded, Mercy Corps-led Food Security Project (FSP) supported the rehabilitation and improvement of farmland on 18 hills on a pilot basis between 2017 and 2022. This brief summarizes the findings from a research study conducted in 2022 on the results of the impact of the Hill Approach.