The present study aims to explore smallholder’s household living standard relevant to slash-and-burn agriculture, and determine trend of key crops grown with respect to their production and related generated average gross income in the region of Faradje, in the far northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Surveys were conducted on agronomic and social economic characteristics prevailing in the area, in five localities, involving 50 farming households based on a questionnaire designed. Questions asked were about yield and gross income, considered as dependent variables as well as household size, farmland area, farming systems, crop types, distance between farms and home, farm task allocation, duration of fallowing, types of off-farm activities and number of reared animals taken as independent variables. Graphs were plotted using R statistic package (Version 3.6.1, 2019-07-05) and correlation analysis was conducted using Genstat 12th edition. The results showed that each household produced yearly on average 793.71 kg of paddy rice, 194.96 kg of maize grain, 175 kg of cassava chips, 70.50 kg of groundnut seeds and 8.60 kg of beans on an average of 0.81 ha of cropland in two cropping seasons. The results also showed that the total annual average income earned by one household was US $ 940.60 with individual average income of US $188.90. This was slightly higher than the national average real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 estimated at US $171; however, the figure was still unfortunately below the minimum of US $1 per day (0.52 US $/day) suggesting that slash-and–burn agriculture cropping system is far to achieve food security and accordingly improvement of economic situation in Faradje DRC. The household size and number of agricultural workers/households were weakly correlated with the average gross income (respectively, r = 0.29 and r = 0.35) whereas cropland surface area was moderately associated with the average gross income (r = 0.74). This demonstrates the importance of cropland surface in this cropping system in Faradje; suggesting that increasing farmers’ gross average income through slash-and-burn cropping system requires cropland expansion. Consequently, much should be undertaken to mitigate adverse effects of the established cropping system over the overall environment.
Key words: Slash-and-burn agriculture, gross income, Faradje, DR Congo.
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