Zambia

Zambia: New agriculture programme will reach 44 000 farmers

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By Charles Kachikoti, WV Zambia Communications
A new programme, the Farmer Managed Food Security Programme, is unfolding in Kawambwa District of Luapula Province. It will cater for 44 000 of the farming population and draw on lessons learnt from the Zambia Integrated Agro-Forestry Project (ZIAP) and the World Vision Chama Area Development Programme Food Security Project.

"This project will benefit the community as a whole, but is designed to have a greater impact upon the lives of women because poverty has a disproportionate impact on rural women," the report says.

19.4% of households in Kawambwa are female-headed and women manage 60% of all farms. Female-headed households are among the poorest in Zambia's Evolution of Poverty, according to CSO, 1996. In addition, 70% of female-headed households rank as extremely poor, as opposed to 57% among male-headed households.

"This project will work to minimize the gender-based disadvantage," says a project document from Chama Area Development Programme (ADP).

ZIAP has been very successful, operating in five districts of Zambia's Eastern Province since 1999 and targeting 12,000 households with Improved Fallow (IF) techniques. Since World Vision Zambia began collaborating with the International Centre for Research in Agro-forestry (ICRAF) through ZIAP, 5,000 households have experimented with IF techniques.

This represents 4,400 male-, female- and child-headed households. Design aspects of this project ensure that women and the most needy within the target population will be catered for. The remaining 2,322 people, (232 households) are indirect beneficiaries, as increased availability and utilization of food will benefit the whole population. The cost per beneficiary is A$ 22.60.

Through Focus Group discussions, the community expressed their desire to have a better-focused program targeting more vulnerable families and women and which promotes low-cost and sustainable methods of lifting and maintaining soil fertility.

The International Center for Research in Agriculture (ICRAF) will contribute experience and expertise, providing technical information and seed, and making consultation visits to the project four times per year throughout the life of the project. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries through its agricultural extension staff, already works with Chama ADP. This working relationship will be expanded for the implementation of this project.

Activities would center around four major outputs, namely:

1. Farmer Group (FG) and Volunteer Motivator (VM) extension system.
2. Adoption of improved agricultural practices.
3. Improved post-harvest technologies and
4. Project management.

For more information contact Charles Kachikoti on +260 1 221 950/55/58 (office) or +260 96 744 302 (mobile).