Formation and Certified Seeds to improve agriculture and better living conditions of rural population in Luwingu District - Valponasca Learning Farm (Northern Region, Zambia
In Zambia agriculture can act as a catalyst for poverty reduction and improved nutrition. Despite it, agricultural growth remains stagnant; poverty rates in rural Zambia remain high, and incidences of stunting, malnutrition and wasting continue to disproportionately affect rural people. Luwingu District is one of the 9 districts in the Northern Province. It lies about 165 km west of Kasama, with a population estimated at 134,426 distributed in 672 villages. Marginalised youngsters and young women are prioritised by the project. In the area most of the farmers are practicing Chitemene System and subsistence agriculture, which does not provide enough income to meet basic needs.
The mission of VLF is to educate youth to enable to make a living through agriculture in a sustainable way. Through a model farm, farmers, and especially young women, invest in agriculture and encourage youngsters. The Strategic Objectives are the following: Outcomes: 1. Increased income security for small-scale farmers and their families in Luwingu. 2. Increased nutrition security for small-scale farmers and their families in Luwingu. Outputs: 1.Increased knowledge and skills of small-scale farmers in effective farming practice and agribusiness. 2.Increased access to organic certified seeds of groundnuts and beans for small-scale farmers 3.Increased access to a groundnut oil processing facility for small-scale farmers 4.Increased access to a bean storage and packing facility for small-scale farmers 5.Increased yield of groundnuts ton/ha
1)Goal 1: The practice works for the eradication of extreme poverty. Farmers are trained and their productivity increased as well as their income. 2)Goal 5:The practice contributes in promoting gender equality. At least 30% of direct beneficiaries are women. The practice is also generating an increase in the number of women taking up leadership positions. 3)Goal 2, 3 & 13: The practice contributes to environmental sustainability and zero hunger. The farmers ceased the chitemene system practices and sustainable rotation system is adopted. Workshops spread knowledge on environment protection.
1) Training of trainers of small-scale farmers in effective farming practice and agribusiness: a total of 160 representatives of small-scale farmers and 16 extension officers (civil servants of the Ministry of Agriculture) from 16 camps in the Luwingu District are trained. The training lasts for 5 days and take place quarterly. Training topics: production, marketing, value chain for groundnuts, beans and other agricultural products, along with leadership skills, life skills. The representatives will then reach 100 farmers per camp, for a total of 1600 farmers, 30% are women. Trainings is held at each camp and last 3-days. The training is spreading at a larger scale the workshops contents. 2) Installing a central pivot irrigation system for the production of organic certified seeds of groundnuts and beans (MGV4, with an oil content up to 48%). 3) Establishing a plant for the production of groundnut oil 4) Building a bulking facility for storage and packing of beans to allow bulking crops from the farmers to facilitate commercialisation after ensuring value added (packing). 5) Planting certified seeds and adopting scientific practices, farmers succeed to increase groundnut production, from 0,78 ton/ha up yo 1,2 ton/ha in the first year, 1,5 ton/ha in the second year and 2 ton/ha in the third year (3 ton/ha using fertilizer) 6) Planting certified seeds and adopting scientific practices, farmers succeed to increase beans production, from 0,9 ton/ha up yo 1,2 ton/ha in the first year, 1,5 ton/ha in the second year and 2 ton/ha in the third year (3 ton/ha using fertilizer) Monitoring of the project has been conducted by the Project Coordinator, along with Project Management Committee, representatives of Cooperatives and Farmers’ Unions. Beneficiaries have also been involved.
1) Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The project has already shown a capacity of affecting community welfare directly targeting the most vulnerable. In 2019 the 8,97% of the sample were earning less than 40 kwacha/day (from 20 to 33 kwacha per day), when in March 2018, the 11% of the sample were earning less than 10 kwacha/day. The income increased from 5,62 kwacha/day to 25,21 kwacha/day in little more than 1 year. 2) Goal 5: Promote gender equality and empower women. The number of women involved increased and they are taking up leadership roles. Out of 529 Farmers, 52% are women. 3) Goal 2, 3 & 13 : Ensure environmental sustainability and zero hunger. Farmers have been sensitized towards the environment and in particular over soil. VLF is affecting environmental sustainability leading peasant farmers to stop adopting chitemene system practices and take up rotation system that improve the soil. Workshops and trainings have spread knowledge on environmental protection.
The project received the vital financial support of Misean Cara, an international Irish faith-based missionary movement. VLF ensured the regularity of the meetings; facilitated the logistic; provided formation coupled with input distribution; provided innovative farming practices and built a long-term vision based on context’s analysis and needs. Constraints have been caused by the isolation of the project site, leading to excessive expenditure in terms of fuel and increased time consumption. Also, availability of goods and marketing are problematic. However, the impact of the project on the local population has brought about economic growth.
In order to build up its sustainability a number actions have been undertaken: • starting and strengthening egg production and sale. • Sausage production. • small drip irrigation plots have been set up to ensure vegetable production. - Setting up Farmers’ Groups is another way of ensuring sustainability of results. A group ensures socio-economic ties. Farmers are linked to a program and to a reciprocal control - SILC saving scheme (Savings and Internal Lending Communities) can help the Farmers’ Groups to grow. - The newly opened Trade Test Certificate in General Agriculture is a modality of ensuring continuity and progress of VLF. Building facilities for training of farmers would be an essential step in order to ensure sustainability. VLF has been organising the expansion of the practice through the formation of zones (a place where nearby group can carry out common activities). In the future VLF is hoping to pick up some training points and to construct a farmer Training Center.
Even if its impact in Luwingu has been quite mild on a medical point of view (number of people affected and few mortalities), COVID-19 has impacted the implementation of the practice since: a) it has been necessary to close down activities for few months, until movements could be resumed; b) even if meetings have taken place on a regular basis, it has been necessary to postpone the organisation of residential activities in order to adopt a behaviour of prudence; c) because of COVID-19 distancing requirements and because of the higher number of Groups, it has become evident the inadequacy of the structures at VLF for continuing and expanding the practice: it is necessary to have larger facilities for meetings, beside some rooms for intensive training and lodging and catering facilities.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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