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‘Extensive local consultations needed among farmers’

KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Indaba Agricultural Policy and Research Institute (IAPRI) says there is need for extensive local consultation to create an understanding of how best conservation agriculture (CA) can be scaled up among small-scale farmers.

IAPRI says to increase CA adoption in Zambia, socio- cultural issues need to be addressed at local level.
There is also need to establish how such issues influence the communities’ decision making towards the new practice.
This is contained in IAPRI’s working paper titled “What drives conservation agriculture adoption among smallholder farmers in Zambia?” availed to the Daily Mail at the ongoing 91st Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show under the theme “Promoting a green economy”.
“There is some evidence to suggest social and cultural factors may influence technology adoption. Therefore, before engaging in any promotion of CA, there is need to establish how these issues can influence the communities’ decision-making towards the new practice.
“There is also need for extensive local consultation, to create an understanding of how best CA can be scaled up,” the statement reads.
CA has the potential to improve productivity, farm system resilience, and households’ nutrition levels.
IAPRI notes that access to information remains a critical component in achieving broad-based adoption of CA and that in areas where farmers have information on the benefits and the knowledge of implementing CA practices, adoption rates are higher.
IAPRI, therefore, calls for enhanced extension services nationwide through both the government and private sector.
“Related to access to CA services, promotion of CA should continue to be enhanced through improving farmers’ access to input and output markets. Promotion of out-grower schemes and contract farming are sustainable market solutions that can be promoted to help farmers appreciate the benefits of CA, as well as make available mechanised CA services and extension to smallholder farmers,” IAPRI notes.