Augustine’s younger sister, Nsoma Astrid, came to visit us for breakfast. She is a physician and gynecologist at a hospital in Matadi and received her education in Japan. She is a very social lady, and she talked us through the morning oatmeal.
Today, our dirty clothes were washed. Almost every day is laundry day. Clothes should be clean. In this house, there are two ladies who take care of food and laundry. Unfortunately, Augustine is not feeling well at the moment.
Yapeco has had to visit the immigration office again, thanks to Bernt and me. However, he only had to bring the foreign passports to the office, and not the actual foreigners.
Today we have stayed at home to go through the costs of growing and selling cassava. So far, it has cost us 850 USD per hectare. The harvest and getting the produce salable will cost 270 USD. Then we must add the cost of transportation to market. Between 8 – 10 hectares will be harvested when the dry season begins. According to Congolese agricultural experts manioc can yield between 15 – 20 tonnes per hectare. We’ve been a little cautious in our outlook and anticipate 14 tonnes. We will sell it as fufu, which means that the root is peeled, grated and dried and packed in bags of 50 kg. This process reduces weight between 60 and 70%.
The ways of distributing and selling are almost the same as in Sweden long ago, when a farmer loaded his harvest on a wagon, harnessed a horse, brought a farmhand and early in the morning went to town to get a good spot at the market. With the exception of the horse – there are no horses in Congo, the harvest will go by truck – the benefits of the small-scale operation is at work. Because at the market the producer meets the customer directly, eye to eye without costly intermediaries. This tried and tested method of selling produce puts the producer in control of the situation.
It’s about time to find the market where the price is the best. We need to make this profitable. This is the first major harvest that we sell. The very first harvest we lost due to the drought. We will need a good result this time.