Cultivating Prosperity: Maize, wheat, and sustainable cattle rearing
Maize (or corn), a dietary staple in both urban and rural DRC, is the heart of our irrigated farm – a beacon of self-sufficiency in the Katanga region. In a region heavily reliant on maize imports, our 3,000 hectares near Lubumbashi yield tens of thousands of tonnes annually, signifying a shift from external dependence to local prosperity.
With pioneering wheat fields irrigated by a cutting-edge centre-pivot system, we stand proudly as one of the DRC’s premier wheat producers, complemented by our strategic cultivation of soybeans in a holistic crop rotation.
Our agricultural operation adheres to modern best practices, employing state-of-the-art GPS-guided equipment. The strategic augmentation of cultivated land area unfolds incrementally each year.
The infrastructure vital to our operations is nurtured by our construction arm, which builds and maintains everything from staff housing and offices to internal roads and bridges. Our well-stocked workshop stands ready with spare parts and an assortment of machines, guaranteeing operational continuity with minimal equipment downtime.
At the core of our mission is the commitment to empower local communities. Prioritising employment and skills development in local people, we’ve established a vocational training centre at our farm. Our pride stems from the increasing numbers of individuals from neighbouring villages finding meaningful employment within the ever-expanding folds of GoCongo.
GoCongo is the proud owner-operator of one of the DRC’s largest cattle ranches. Our forward-looking approach involves modernising breeding techniques and field management practices. This ensures a sustainable increase in the annual output of our 55,000-strong Bonsmara cattle herd while reducing land-intensity, contributing to the reduction of substantial beef imports.
Situated across 730,000 hectares of pristine grazing land, our ranches have been a hub of sustainable grazing for over 90 years. We actively involve local communities with generations of experience in ranching to care for these cattle, fostering a tradition of responsible and sustainable practices.
In our commitment to innovation and sustainability, we’re transitioning the majority of our cattle to a professional feedlot. This progressive approach contrasts with the traditional grazing method, where cattle typically took 4-5 years to reach maturity at a weight of 400kg over a large land area. Our feedlot method, on the other hand, achieves an impressive 550kg in just two years, utilising a significantly smaller land area. This strategic shift not only ensures faster and more efficient cattle production but also minimises our environmental footprint.
Our commitment to sustainability and efficiency is reflected in the vertical integration of our operations. At the feedlot, cattle thrive on a diet crafted from byproducts of our maize, wheat, and soya processing.
The cycle of sustainability continues as the nutrient-rich manure produced at the feedlot is employed as an organic fertiliser, enriching our fields. Looking ahead, as we approach capacity at our feedlot, our sustainable practices will lead to a remarkable reduction of almost 50% in our fertiliser imports.