Business

FAO, ZNFU seals $100,000 deal

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) have signed a US$100,000 forest and farm facility (FFF) agreement to help improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers venture into the cultivation of forestry.
FFF is managed by FAO but, is a partnership programme that includes other international organisations namely; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
During the signing ceremony on Friday, FAO representative to Zambia George Okech said the implementation of the FFF programme has already started in Choma and Mwinilunga.
“This agreement is for US$100,000 for now but, there are also other funds which we are going to provide direct to farmers who are under ZNFU and we are talking about US$200,000 small grants. We will also support the forest department to a tune of about US$50,000 per year for the next three years,” Mr Okech said.
He said the FFF programme is one year but, subject to funding, FAO can push the agreement to another two years to enable ZNFU and the Forest department effectively implement the plan in Zambia.
“The groups [in Choma and Mwinilunga will be able to] access up to a maximum US$10,000 and the project is targeting 20 groups [10 from each target district]. This fund will be managed by FAO,” he said.
The project will support activities such as the establishment of local platforms for policy engagement and support for the functions of the information centres that ZNFU has developed.
Other activities will include conducting trainings in business development, agronomic and forestry practices and advocacy using the study circle system supported by WE Effect.
Earlier, ZNFU executive director Ndambo Ndambo said there is need for farmers to embrace and pursue new types of agriculture such as forestry farming.
“Forestry farming is a major intervention when it comes to climate change, so, this particular [support] has come at the right time,” he said.



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