Conservation Agriculture in Zambia

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James McNulty is a Seconded National Expert working with the European Union Delegation to Zambia. Here he shares what he learned about the practical application of conservation agriculture from local farmers.

You can read more in a Voices & Views on capacity4dev.eu:

http://capacity4dev.ec.europa.eu/article/harnessing-potential-conservation-agriculture-reduce-poverty

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Conservation Agriculture in Zambia

  1. 1. Conservation agriculture in Zambia prepared by EU Delegation to Zambia and COMESA February 2013 Key facts  Conservation Agriculture has been promoted for many years by NGOs and Conservation Farming Unit of ZambianWhat is Conservation Agriculture? National Farmer’s Union – the method canA farming practice of managing agro-ecosystems for increase yields for smallholders by up toimproved and sustained productivity, increased profits three timesand food security, while preserving and enhancing the  Funding: Mainly funded by EU and theresource base and the environment. Royal Norwegian Government from 2009 until end of 2012 (16.9m EUR)  Future: EU’s four-year ConservationCA has three pillars: Agriculture Scaling Up program to start 2013.• minimum Tillage, which is continuous minimum Agriculture key sector for EU in Zambia until mechanical soil disturbance; at least 2020, in support of Zambian• permanent organic soil cover Government’s vision to make CA available to• crop rotation and incorporation of legumes 600,000 of Zambia’s small scale farmers by 2015.
  2. 2. Conservation agriculture in Zambia prepared by EU Delegation to Zambia and COMESA February 2013 Key facts  Conservation Agriculture has been promoted for many years by NGOs and Conservation Farming Unit of ZambianWhat is Conservation Agriculture? National Farmer’s Union – the method canA farming practice of managing agro-ecosystems for increase yields for smallholders by up toimproved and sustained productivity, increased profits three timesand food security, while preserving and enhancing the  Funding: Mainly funded by EU and theresource base and the environment. Royal Norwegian Government from 2009 until end of 2012 (16.9m EUR)  Future: EU’s four-year ConservationCA faces challenges: Agriculture Scaling Up program to start 2013.• Varied understanding of CA among stakeholders Agriculture key sector for EU in Zambia until• Low appetite of Government to financially support CA at least 2020, in support of Zambian• Weed control, land preparation and conflict Government’s vision to make CA available to between soil cover on fields and livestock for crop 600,000 of Zambia’s small scale farmers by 2015. residues• Crop diversification (for better nutrition)• Limited area under CA per farmer
  3. 3. This is a collection of photos* about farmers inChongwe District in Zambia who areparticipating in the EU-funded FISRI (FarmerInput Support Response Initiative). It highlights More informationthe methods and equipment they use, some of Find out more information about CA in Zambia, includingthe farmers involved, and the issues they face. our partners FAO and the Norwegian government’s work in this area.FISRI is funded by FAO and European Union,and implemented through Ministry of • CA in Zambia: http://conservationagriculture.org/Agriculture. Between 2009 and the end of • EU and FAO partnership on CA2012, this project has provided support http://www.fao.org/europeanunion/eu-in-(including e-vouchers, affordable access to action/eu_countries/zambia/en/equipment, and training) to approximately • Scaling up CA in Zambia (World Bank Institute video)200,000 farmers in Zambia (in 2011), over17,000 of them in Chongwe district. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRh6FCvx91g* Photos by James McNulty james-francis.mcnulty@eeas.europa.eu
  4. 4. Matthias Ndhlovu, Lead Farmer at Kumatsimo Farm,Kanakantapa Camp, with the tractor he bought through the EU-supported conservation agriculture programme. He wants to getanother tractor and more farm equipment to meet increasingdemand from the 191 farms he services. Will he be able to meetthe terms of his existing loans? It is a struggle, but manageable. Iam on course to repay in three years.
  5. 5. Proof of paymentbetween MatthiasNdhlovu, Lead Farmer,Kumatsimo Farm,Kanakantapa Camp, andone of the followerfarmers he providesservices to.
  6. 6. EU agricultural officerwith a low-cost, low-maintenanceconservation agriculturetool, a Fitarelli No. 12direct planter andfertilizer distributor.
  7. 7. These conservation agriculture smallholders from Lukoshi village said thatthey wouldnt go back to traditional methods. The benefits?They like being able to plant early, and of course to get much higheryields, enabling them to hire others to help them plant and harvest fields.Other benefits include less water run-off, better quality of soil and higherresistance to drought. However, they don’t always get paid on time by theGovernment Food Reserve Agency for what they produce.
  8. 8. Agro-dealers sell farm equipment, seeds andfertiliser. This lady is one of eight agro-dealers in Chomgwe district whoparticipates in the e-voucher scheme.The E-voucher system – piloted by the EU’sFISRI project – has been shown to be a goodway of compensating the lead farmers whoprovide advice to follower farmers onconservation agriculture methods.This lady reported that e-vouchersaccounted for an increase of 15% in herturnover – involving the private sector is avital part of making new agriculturalmethods and models more sustainable inZambia
  9. 9. Charles Simulunda, District Agricultural Co-ordinator, Chongwe, at his desk, in charge ofimplementation of the EU’s farmer supportprogram at district level. When asked about theimpact of the programme, he said: They can sellfar more bags…they have increased theirproduction. Their children can go to school, theycan buy iron sheets to build their houses.
  10. 10. Conservation agriculture isn’t justabout bigger yields, it’s abouthuman development.CA can help overcome some ofZambia’s long-term challengesthrough better nutrition, cropdiversification, environmentalsustainability and higherproductivity for smallholder farmers.Which means a brighter andhealthier future for the childrenof Lukoshi village.That’s why the EU, together withits partners and the Government inZambia, is scaling-up CA in 2013and beyond.EU Delegation to Zambiahttp://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/zambia/index_en.htm

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