This is a second briefing paper to come out of farmer exchange events held in Zambia in May. The first exchange took place in Kalulushi District, Copperbelt Province, and you can find that briefing paper here. Then a second exchange was convened in Shibuyunji District, Central Province, where the objective was to continue sharing ideas on transitioning to a smallholder support system for diversified agroecological farming.

In Zambia, food and farming systems have changed rapidly, and for the worse. Increasingly, farmers use chemicals and poisonous inputs, which they need to purchase. The nation’s agriculture budget subsidises fertiliser and seed through the Farm Input Support Programme (FISP), which enriches big companies while soils are impoverished and a few crops take over the diverse local traditional crops.

Bingo Farmer Field School (FFS) hosted the field visit and dialogue, through a partnership between Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT), Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB) and African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

Shibuyunji meeting

Participants visited the host farmer Mercy Shibeleki’s kitchen garden and the farm of Noel Chalimbwa, a seed custodian working with CTDT. The visits sparked discussion on the technical merits of various agroecological techniques, including production and use of manure, compost and organic liquid fertiliser, and dealing with pests.

Farmers also showed the harvest and seed of many local indigenous crops, which has largely been taken over by mono crops, leading to hunger even among many farmers. It was acknowledged that indigenous foods were not only more nutritious but the seed was more adapted to flourishing in all parts of the country. You can watch more here: