Close to 5000 farmers in Zambia’s Mufumbwe district have benefited from the climate-smart agriculture project, which produces tomatoes, green vegetables, eggplants, ginger, garlic, beans, groundnuts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, onions, and bananas.

Save the Environment and People Agency (SEPA), a non-profit organization in Zambia, is in charge of the project, which aims to improve the standard of living of rural communities and the poor.

The project is also receiving extension services from the Agriculture Ministry, and beneficiaries have been trained in partnership with the ministry. Project manager Mailes Zulu said 200 farmers undertaking the project, 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 the Mufumbwe district. Zulu added the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Centre for Coordination of Agriculture Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) were also supporting the project.

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

The project has been a success and has received recognition from 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 Agrippa Chambala, Mufumbwe district administrator said in a letter addressed to 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 project is one of the four Climate Smart Technologies projects launched in neighbouring 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.