Agricultural produces, produced under the climate-smart agriculture project in Zambia have begun to bear fruit, with close to 5,000 people in Mufumbwe District in the north-western part of the country benefiting.

Save the Environment and People Agency (SEPA), a non-profit organization in Zambia, is in charge of the project. SEPA works to improve the standard of living of rural communities and the poor in the country. Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture is providing extension services to the project. In collaboration with the Ministry, beneficiaries have also received training.

Project manager Ms Mailes Zulu said 200 farmers undertaking the project which is spread over 14 hectares have improved their livelihoods after selling the produce to the local communities. The farmers are using the produce to feed their families and selling the surplus to the communities surrounding them.

She said SEPA was a small group of people who had brought agricultural benefits to Mufumbwe District. Ms Zulu thanked the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Centre for Coordination of Agriculture Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) for supporting the project.

“When we request for money, this is where we take SADC money,” she said, pointing at the flourishing crop of groundnuts and pumpkin leaves.

The project has been so successful that it has received recognition by the Government of Zambia, with Mufumbwe District administrative officer, Mr Agrippa Chambala, recently writing to Ms Zulu expressing appreciation of the project by the government.

“As district Administrator, we commend you for these great works that are contributing to improved livelihoods of your members as well as the general public,” said Mr Chambala in the letter to Ms Zulu

“As you may be aware, the new dawn Government is creating an enabling environment for business and encouraging individuals and organisations to be productive. Hence, we are urging you to continue with your good work and be an example to others. I wish you the best in your business ventures.”

The Mufumbwe project is managed by SEPA under close supervision by CCARDESA, with funding from the European Union (EU) under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) programme, in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and climate change on food and nutrition security.

A borehole and a drip irrigation system were drilled and installed to provide water for the vegetables and fruit trees planted by the beneficiaries.

The Zambian project is one of the four Climate-Smart Technologies projects launched in Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe by CCARDESA in November and December 2020, with support from the EU.

The projects are an extension of the GCCA+ programme which seeks to strengthen the capacity of SADC Member States to undertake regional and national adaptation and mitigation actions in response to the challenges caused by the effects of climate change.

The EU has contributed €8 million to the overall GCCA+ project to increase the capabilities of SADC Member States to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and to have their voices better heard in the international climate change negotiations