Posts Tagged ‘Zambia’

Sep29

Sowing the Seeds of a Food-Secure Future

Share
Pin It

By Dana Drugmand

Worldwide, 195 million children suffer from malnutrition, which adversely affects their development and overall well-being. Approximately 26 percent of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. And according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, the number of malnourished children in the region will rise 18 percent between 2001 and 2020. Fortunately, innovations such as school feeding programs and kitchen vegetable gardens are working to combat malnutrition and hunger in African children.

Schoolchildren in Uganda are learning how to grow fruits and vegetables in kitchen gardens funded by Seeds for Africa. (Photo Credit: Kellogg)

One organization, Seeds for Africa, has been instrumental in helping children gain access to local, nutritious fruits and vegetables. A central part of this organization’s work is teaching children the value of growing their own food by helping them to establish kitchen gardens and fruit tree orchards. Seeds for Africa funds kitchen vegetable garden development at primary schools in Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.

In Kenya, Seeds for Africa coordinator Thomas Ndivo Muema has helped primary schools in the Nairobi region establish vegetable gardens and orchards of 200 fruit trees and has also supplied water tanks. In Uganda, fruit trees and vegetable gardens have been established at 77 schools around Kampala, the capital city. And in Sierra Leone, Seeds for Africa coordinator Abdul Hassan King has helped oversee tree planting projects in 50 primary schools and advised kitchen vegetable gardens operating at 15 other schools.

In 2011, Kellogg UK donated £6434 (US$9,946) to Seeds for Africa to fund “breakfast clubs” in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia—clubs in which schoolchildren are fed breakfast if they attend class. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, some 60 percent of children come to school without having eaten breakfast, if they attend school at all. By providing a nutritious breakfast, the initiative helps to improve attendance as well as academic performance and student well-being. Results from breakfast club trials indicate that students who participated scored better on school tests and were happier overall than students who did not participate. School attendance also increased to 95 percent.

(more…)

Aug09

COMACO strengthens incentives, expands efforts to western Luangwa Valley

Share
Pin It

By Graham Salinger 

Community Markets for Conservation(COMACO), the group behind the It’s Wild local food brand in Zambia that sells everything from organic rice to honey, is expanding its conservation efforts to the western regions of the Luangwa Valley.

COMACO hopes that a recent plan to strengthen incentives for practicing sustainable agriculture will help preserve the Luangwa Valley’s environment and wildlife (Photo Credit: Paola Bouley).

COMACO was founded thirty years ago and helps farmers in Zambia grow indigenous crops instead of relying on poaching wildlife as their primary source of income. COMACO also works to reduce the practice of chitemene, which involves cutting down and burning trees as a method of producing ash to improve crop yield. The organization focuses on training farmers in conservation methods and establishing markets to sell products through the It’s Wild brand. The It’s Wild brand is sold in major supermarket chains across Zambia, including ShopRite, Checkers, and Spar.

COMACO has provided training for more than 40,000 small-scale farming families living across the Luangwa Valley. In 2009 it purchased over 3,000 tons of agricultural commodities from small scale farmers. COMACO works with over 1,329 former hunters in efforts to use agriculture as an alternative to poaching.

Looking to build on these successes, COMACO is working with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) to extend its operations to areas in the west that have not been involved in the process. This year, ZAWA has given COMACO data on areas where illegal poaching is still common, allowing COMACO to target its efforts to specific regions. The new plan offers increased incentives for people to give up hunting in favor of farming, “the whole principle of COMACO is to offer communities a choice: a better life with skills, trade and food security through COMACO—or –a continued reliance on natural resource destruction at their own risk….”explained COMACO in announcing plans to strengthen current efforts.

(more…)

Apr12

FAO and EC’s Promotion of “Climate-Smart” Agriculture

Share
Pin It

By Marissa Dwyer

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission have announced a €5.3 million (approximately US$7 million) three-year project to promote “climate-smart” approaches to agriculture. FAO says that “climate-smart” agriculture “sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), [and] reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation) while enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals.”

FAO reports that crop agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

FAO reports that crop agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts, therefore, will need to be aimed at both improving livelihoods of farmers and improving food access, as well as reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The announcement of this project is timely. A recent report from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change finds that climate change will likely lead to a reduction in crop yields. This issue is magnified by the fact that changes will vary by region, so some countries’ agricultural outputs may suffer disproportionately from climate change effects.

The project will focus on three countries: Malawi, Vietnam, and Zambia. The European Commission will contribute €3.3 million (US$4.4 million) and the FAO will provide the remaining €2 million (US$2.6 million) and will take the lead on the implementation of the project. All three countries are expected to be significantly affected by climate change. Although the unique conditions of each location must be taken into account in developing plans, all three countries can learn from the progress of one another in pursuing strategies that are more “climate-smart.”

In Malawi, George Matiya, the Dean of Environmental Sciences at the Bunda College of Agriculture, said that the country will likely be more affected by negative implications of climate change because of its narrow economic base, where a large part of the population are farmers. Matiya pointed out that the southern region of Malawi will be especially vulnerable to more extreme weather such as floods, high temperatures, and drought. Innovations and investments to develop and make available different crops, such as ones that are more drought resistant or that can mature earlier, he states, will be crucial.

(more…)

Apr04

Nourishing the Planet TV: Teaching Sustainable Practices to Sustain Livelihoods

Share
Pin It

In this week’s episode, Nourishing the Planet discusses how the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) is working to teach farmers in Zambia low-cost and sustainable agricultural practices. KATC offers a variety of short courses, lasting from three days to two weeks, which allow participants to gain experience in agroforestry, conservation tillage, and organic pest management.

Video: http://youtu.be/bnigw5UGMF0

To read more about the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre, see: Innovation of the Week: Teaching Sustainable Practices to Sustain Livelihoods.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

 

Nov09

Nourishing the Planet TV: Locally Produced Crops for Locally Consumed Products

Share
Pin It

In this week’s episode, research intern Isaac Hopkins discusses a collaboration between farmers in Zambia and a local brewery that uses the sorghum they grow to make affordable lager.

Video: http://youtu.be/eWqvdjJKo7o

To read more about sorghum farmers in Zambia, see: Innovation of the Week: Locally Produced Crops for Locally Consumed Products

Sep21

Nourishing the Planet TV: It’s All About the Process

Share
Pin It

In this week’s episode, research intern Jenna Banning discusses the benefits of processing. By providing the right tools and services, organizations such as the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) and the East Africa Dairy Development, are helping farmers improve their livelihoods and communities.

Video: http://youtu.be/H46OA_RPsR4

To read more about processing, see Innovation of the Week: It’s All About the Process 

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.