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Story Publication logo June 24, 2022

Kalamba: When Beans and Corn Eat the Gallery Forests (French)


A woman carries a basket on her head as she walks by a wooden house.

In the savannas of central DRC, gallery forests are constantly being cut. They constitute, for the...


This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Congo Durable. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Photo by Didier Makal. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

Commercial crops of maize, peanuts, and beans are eating up the forest in and around Kalamba, in the Kapanga territory bordering East Kasai Province in central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Many gallery forests are disappearing one after the other. Intense agricultural activities since the end of the 1990s require more forest than exists each year.

In this region, more than 1,000 kilometers from the famous copper and cobalt mines of Katanga and the diamond mines in neighboring Kasai, land is an absolute treasure. The conditions for accessing it, however, sometimes cause head bashing. In addition, intense deforestation activities contribute to climatic disturbances. The harvests, for their part, no longer encourage the farmers and the prospects are no longer very good. Those who resist then cut down the gallery forests!

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In Kalamba, a city of more than 40,000 inhabitants, for example, it is necessary to cultivate, by hand, to afford everything. Schooling your children, building your house with sustainable materials as they exist in the city, paying for a bicycle, a motorcycle, or simply getting dressed, everything comes from there. Regular rains and short dry spells in between during the rainy season are necessary to increase the harvest. But the rain cycle itself is disrupted.

Graphic courtesy of Global Forest Watch.
In the territory of Kapanga (Lualaba), specifically in Kalamba, peasants survey the gallery forests in the hope of improving their harvests of cash crops such as beans and maize. The savannah soils no longer produce, and the prospects are not great for everyone. Video courtesy of
Kyondo Mobile. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

Photo by Didier Makal. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

A Kasar resident harvesting beans in her savannah field. Photo by Didier Makal. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

A young man in a forest in Kasar locality, near Kalamba (Kapanga). Deforestation takes place between May and July of each year. Photo by Didier Makal. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.


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