National Learning Alliance Zambia
In many ways Zambia can be regarded as one of Africa’s agricultural success stories of 2017. But the sustainability of the country’s agricultural achievements is being undermined by its high dependence on maize, which is highly vulnerable to climate change, inadequate infrastructure and inappropriate farming practices.
The following thematic areas of policy and investment interest will be explored in Zambia over the next three years:
Members of the NLA in Zambia are working together to identify the different policies and mechanisms that could provide smallholder farmers, including women and young people, with better access to land and markets. The NLA is also providing a platform for members to explore what land arrangements (administration and tenure systems) would encourage access, equitable and sustainable use of land by hard to reach and marginalised farming communities.
Researchers from the University of Malawi with Lund University are analysing long term household trends in agricultural intensification within the Kapiri Mposhi district in the northern part of the Central Province in order to understand how gender, generation, and land-holding size affect their capacity to increase agricultural productivity. Results are discussed with District officials and other stakeholders and training will be given to firms and service providers improve equity in their own practices and to policymakers to more effectively integrate equity within agricultural policy development and implementation.
Deforestation and land degradation in Zambia demonstrate the economic and environmental consequences of increasing agricultural production through expanding area under production rather than investing in existing cultivated land. NLA members are working together to address the need for increased agricultural productivity without harming the environment. They are also developing a co-ordinated approach to the policy frameworks and implementation mechanisms needed to understand and reduce these trade offs.
Researchers from Zambia Agriculture Research Institute with ICRAF are working in the Solwezi district situated in the North-Western province of Zambia to identify and increase the use of context-appropriate SAI innovations through evidence, multi-scale trade-off analysis, and the development of innovative evidence-based tools for stakeholder engagement and decision making.
NLA members are working together to address the limited capacity and knowledge on SAI methodologies among extension service providers and agricultural graduates. Issues being explored include how to support smallholders transitioning from low mechanised to commercially viable mechanised agriculture and the development of a tertiary agricultural curriculum that facilitates the application of SAI technologies by smallholder farmers.