Climate & Agriculture
Land lying idle
Given the vast size of the country, it’s no surprise the DR Congo has an estimated 80 million hectares of available arable land. But due to conflict and insecurity, only around 10% of this land is currently being used.
Since not enough is grown locally to meet demand, supplies have to be brought in from outside. With rising global prices, it is hard for families to afford imported food.
This means not enough food is being grown to meet the needs of the population. At least four out of every ten children suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition – see Poverty and Healthcare.
Agriculture is mainly subsistence-style, where farmers produce food for their own families.
A fruity country
A wide range of fruits are grown across the country. These include mangoes, oranges, mangosteens, guavas, papaya, avocados and bananas.
Cassava is the most widely-grown crop in the DR Congo, with plantains and maize also common. In some regions, groundnuts/peanuts and rice are grown.
Smallholders often grow some cash crops. These include tobacco, coffee, sugar cane and cocoa. Rubber is also extracted from rubber trees, and palm oil from the kernels of palm trees.
For meat, many people depend on hunting wild animals (when it’s known as bush meat). Along the rivers and lakes, fish also provides local communities with valuable protein.
No relief at night
Nights can be hot and sticky. Temperatures don’t generally fall below 18°C, except in cooler mountainous regions, where they may dip to 10°C.
Straddling the equator, the DR Congo’s climate is equatorial. This means the weather is hot, with temperatures high across the year.
In the daytime, temperatures average 25°C across the rainforest, but can exceed 35°C in the south. With humidity also high, conditions can feel oppressive.
Rain can fall throughout the year, especially across the northern equatorial forest region. But the main wet season runs through the winter, from October to April. Further south, the rainy season is shorter (December to March) and summer months tend to be dry and dusty.