KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
THE World Bank has given Zambia a US$30 million loan to implement a legumes-based farming system that will improve food and nutrition security, and incomes of smallholder farmers through increased crop production.
Under the six-year agricultural productivity programme for Southern Africa (APPSA), Zambia is establishing a centre of leadership for food legumes such as soya beans, beans, cow peas, groundnuts and pigeon peas.
Similarly, Malawi and Mozambique which have also received US$30 million each, are focusing on maize and rice-based farming systems, respectively.
Giving a status of implementation of APPSA in the country recently, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) director Moses Mwale informed World Bank vice president for Africa Makhtar Diop and his delegation that the project is targeting 2.3 million beneficiaries in Zambia.
“These will include lead farmers, contact farmers and other farmers. It is expected that at least 30 technologies will be made available to farmers and other end-users by the end of the project period.
“Out of this number, at least 20 technologies generated by the project in Zambia will be made available to other APPSA participating countries,” he said.
Mr Mwale said the project has three components in Zambia that focus on technology generation and dissemination, infrastructure and human capital development and coordination and facilitation.
“APSSA Zambia has so far generated 31 improved seed varieties that have been made available to farmers,” he said.
Under component two, there are 10 PhD students both in country and abroad, 30 Master of Science students, 35 Bachelor of Arts students and nine Diploma students.
“We have also procured farm, laboratory and office equipment needed to carry out field trials and laboratory analyses at selected ZARI research stations across the country. Under component three, APSSA money is being used to host and participate in World Bank implementation support missions across the implementing countries and development of the science agenda for ZARI and screening of all research and development projects on environmental and social safeguard,” he said.