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article imageFarmer's wife in Congo tells of her experience

By Matthew Hendricks     Mar 29, 2013 in World
Frances du Toit, the wife of Wynand, tells of their experiences in the Congo where they came with a group of farmers from South Africa at the invitation of the Congolese government.
According to HowWeMadeItInAfrica.com, it all started in 2009 with an invitation by the Congolese government for South African farmers to develop agriculture in the Congo in order to help with food security.
South African farmers also seem to help in more ways than one to make life better for the Congolese people, report TimesLive. You can read about some interesting developments, sometimes very basic but so great to have done, on http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2012/05/15/sa-farmers-creating-a-better-life-for-congolese .
The following is a summary of a personal email written by Frances du Toit to the magazine Huisgenoot, telling of their adventure:
An insane amount of rain can fall in just one day, but they get used to all the regular rain. The muddy soil soon dry out again and they can farm in a stop-go fashion inamong all the rain showers.
After 8 months of cleaning the fields, all the farmers (six permanent and 17 temporary settlers) planted 980 hectares of mielies (maize / corn) on a neighbouring farm, Malolo. They had their first harvest in August 2012.
This isn't bad at all for a new farming venture. A piece of completely wild African bush has been converted into the most beautiful, green corn fields anyone's ever seen in less than a year.
Their first year in the Congo went by in a flash, but it wasn't always easy. Still, it's great to be able to farm in safety, something their brethren in South Africa don't have.
(In South Africa, the ruling terrorist group the African National Congress (ANC) promotes the sadistic, cruel torture and murder or farmers. Thousands have been killed in the most horrific fashions for sadistic pleasure. An article on this by Telegraph.co.uk can be read here.)
The newly settled Congolese farmers feel 100% safe. They do not even lock their houses and cars.
There are other challenges, like the lack of infrastructure, difficult access to basic consumer goods, the condition of the roads, new languages and malaria.
During their arrival in the Congo in December 2011, local traditional leaders and the Congolese minster of agriculture welcomed them on Malolo, the farm where all the farmers first lived together.
After a traditional ritual, during which they were handed a bowl with soil, stones, seeds and twigs in it, they were also handed a basket of leaves and grass with four chickens, bananas and avocados as a present.
Even though people here may possess very little, their generosity is strong.
For a while, the farmers lived together in caravans and tents, then the Congolese government gave permission for them to move into seven houses on Malolo. These houses used to belong to French farmers who built them in the 1940's and left them in the 1960's.
By now the houses may look somewhat delapidated, but the roofs are still waterproof, it's roomy inside, the ceilings are high and the doors and windows big.
The Du Toits built a house in record time on Belle Terre, about 30 km from Malolo. Slowly but surely they are furnishing it.
Even though the farmers have only the bare essentials, Frances' husband Wynand is happy here. Here they can flourish.
Soon they will be starting a school and a pre-primary school that will grow as more families arrive. This will give their children the social structure they currently don't have here.
This year, the Du Toit family will be able to harvest maize for the first time on their own farm of 1600 hectares.
AfricaReport claim that South African farmers who left South Africa to farm in the Congo, "hit gold".
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder says farmers are getting the recognition abroad that they are denied at home, reports PoliticsWeb.
"Within a very short time the South African farmers in the Republic of the Congo have made a huge impression on the president of the Congo and the minister of agriculture of that country," Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF Plus and deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in South Africa, said.
"It is with mixed feelings that one listens to the gratitude that the local (Congolese) politicians have for the farmer's expertise and diligence. Only once the leaders and the population of South Africa start to realise the value of these farmers, we will be able to turn the loss of these farmers and agricultural expertise around."
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