How this woman became a top sunflower oil producer in Katanga, DRC’s mineral heartland

Abu Mubarik February 11, 2022
Photo of sunflower. Credit: Wikimedia commons/Nitish 06

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga region is known for its mineral wealth. However, the region has relatively little investment in agriculture beyond smallholder subsistence farming.

The situation of the Katanga region is no different from other mining regions or provinces in sub-Saharan Africa like Obuasi Mines in Ghana, Jo’burg in South Africa among others, where agriculture has been relegated to the background in search for gold, diamond or copper.

The eastern part of Katanga is said to be a rich mining region, which supplies cobalt, copper, tin, radium, uranium, and diamonds. The region’s former capital, Lubumbashi, is the second-largest city in the Congo.

However, due to population growth and diversification of the economy of Katanga, agriculture is gradually taking center stage. People are being offered huge incentives for capital-intensive agriculture in the region in order to catch up with the rest of the country, according to a report cited in How We Made It In Africa.

One entrepreneur set on benefiting from the growing focus on agriculture in the Katanga region is Ange Kanonga, who is an entrepreneur and a farmer. She owns five hectares of sunflowers in the region which she uses to produce vegetable oil, thereby reducing the region’s dependence on oil imports from Zambia.

“With the daily use of oil in the kitchen, it was very important that we focus our projects on the transformation of organic and natural oil,” Kanonga was quoted by How We Made It In Africa.

Kanonga’s five hectares sunflower farm is her own experiment. However, much of her own raw materials come from small-scale farmer “outgrowers” trying their hand at an increasing variety of crops in the region.

Kanonga is now determined to scale production and expand her business nationwide. She is getting ready to start producing oil for the whole country.

The entrepreneur started her business in 1995. She was first in the seed business before she turned to oils, mostly soya-based, in 2010. She first started producing only for Lubumbashi and its surroundings but in 2019 she decided to produce for the whole country.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 11, 2022


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