WASHINGTON DC – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a new partnership with a private sector firm, the Chambers Federation, operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This partnership is focused on increasing and improving linkages between private firms and smallholder farmers and supporting the creation of a more competitive agricultural sector in the DRC.

Chambers Federation, an impact investment and advisory firm specializing in socially responsible sourcing – and artisanal cocoa in particular – aims to expand its cocoa supply chain in the DRC to boost quality and revenue. Through partnering with USAID, Chambers Federation plans to establish a cocoa processing facility in North Kivu to focus on semi-finished goods, such as cocoa powder, for local and regional markets. It also plans to collaborate with local farmers to improve cocoa bean processing. This partnership will introduce innovative practices, such as bean grading, incentivizing new practices to enhance production quality, and exploring worker services such as childcare and mobile money transfers. Ultimately, USAID aims to revolutionize the cocoa industry and uplift local communities in the DRC. Under this two-year partnership, Chambers Federation will leverage approximately $1.27 million in U.S. government and private sector funding ($500,000 from USAID and $770,000 in partner funds).

This partnership is the first of USAID/DRC’s Market Access Partnership Facility, implemented by the Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity. The USAID MSP Facility works with private sector partners to pilot innovative solutions that can help businesses overcome constraints currently inhibiting agricultural-led growth. It increases the number and quality of business connections between micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), producers and agribusinesses such as traders, aggregators, transporters, and sellers. The purpose is to strengthen the supply chain for products that need sourcing, while reducing poverty and strengthening DRC's economic competitiveness and inclusiveness. Overall, it is anticipated that impacts of the program will entail improving DRC’s climate change resilience and risk management capacities.