In 2019, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) co-hosted four farmer exchanges in Zambia. The first was in Kalulushi, Copperbelt Province, in partnership with the Zambia College of Horticultural Training (ZCHT) Chapula, Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), and the Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB).
ACB Advocacy and Research Officer Rutendo Zendah gives an account of what happened.
Farmers came together for two days of dialogue to share ideas on transitioning to a smallholder support system for diversified agroecological farming at the ZCHT in Chapula district. The meeting was attended by smallholder farmers, civil society partners, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and local media.
We were taken on a tour of ZCHT demo plot. The prinicipal of the college, Joseph Phakati, gave us an overview, followed by an introduction by KATC research Daniel Kalala. Then ZCHT training officer Benjamin Kayama took us on a tour, as captured in this video: https://youtu.be/bumfN6ChJSs
Here you can watch Theresa Mutaka taking us around her farm, where she explains some of the agroecological practices she uses and demonstrates ways to make fertilizer using weeds and manure. Another smallholder farmer, Mary Sakala, talks to us about the limitations of the farm input subsidy programme and how farmers need to shift to agroecological farming practices. Watch here: https://youtu.be/9P1GIp_wG1c
Small-scale farmer Grace Tepula explained why she started farming and Juliet Nangamba of Community Technology Development Trust spoke to a farmer about local varieties. You can watch glimpses here: https://youtu.be/DD_U6S3xuFI
Young farmer Lilian Mbapolo advises other young people to go into farming and speaks about the limitations of being a farm input subsidiary programme (FISP) beneficiary, as well as the challenges she faces to transition to agroecology. Watch here: https://youtu.be/RgbGXoNpkxc
Key issues that came out of the meeting were:
- The importance of training smallholder farmers
- The need to develop training materials
- The need for further farmer exchanges and exposure visits on seed sharing, organic soil fertility and pest management
- The importance of crop diversification
- Putting forward the kind of support required from government to facilitate agroecology, and how farmers and youth can be involved in the process.
For more detailed information please read the briefing that came out of this meeting by clicking here.