Business

‘Adopt conservation agriculture’

AGRICULTURE is the mainstay of economic activity in Central Province

DARLINGTON MWEDABAI, Lusaka

OVER 42,000 households in Kalomo have been encouraged to adopt conservation agriculture through the US$800,000 Early Drought Project (EDR) being implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). EDR is assisting farmers that were highly affected by the 2018/2019 drought, which hit most parts of Zambia. Kalomo was severely affected, which led to reduced crop production, resulting in acute food insecurity in the district. The two-year project is funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) and is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture. ADRA country director Kennedy Habasimbi said in an interview recently that the agency is helping smallholder farmers recover from the drought by supporting them with nutritious school meals for children, among others. Mr Habasimbi said the project stimulated the adoption of conservation agriculture by incentivising targeted households using sustainable production systems to improve productivity and ultimately contribute to financial sustainability. “Farmers received emergency input packs, comprised of drought-tolerant seeds such as cowpeas, sorghum and cassava, and equipment such as 5, 996 ripper attachments,” he said. It is expected that after adopting conservation farming, farmers will not grow crops for home consumption but to earn extra income. Mr Habasimbi said the project activities include exposing smallholder farmers to climate-smart agriculture, crop diversification and post-harvest management, among others. While the main project activities are use of conservation agriculture, provision of agricultural input support and promotion of post-harvest handling and storage techniques are also being taught. One of the beneficiaries, Tenson Munkombwe of Simakakata village in Kalomo, is optimistic the project interventions such as use of  CLICK TO READ MORE


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