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Forest and farm producers at the center of sustainable development

FAO facility equips Zambian producers to reach their potential

An estimated 1.5 billion forest and farm producers make up 90 percent of the world’s farmers, (Photo: ©FAO/Sophie Grouwels)

3 December 2018, Lusaka–The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Zambia launched the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) Phase II to support forest and farm producers. The facility envisions a conducive environment for the stakeholders to address sustainable development, from poverty reduction to climate change mitigation.

About 100 representatives from government, producer organizations, and local communities attended the launch of FFF Phase II in Lusaka. The facility envisions Zambia reaching at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically the ones on livelihoods, food security, gender equality, climate change and life on land.

Speaking at the launch, Zambia’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Trevor Kaunda, said, “The Forest and Farm Facility’s Phase II comes at a time of renewed global efforts toward sustainable development. This is timely under the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to fight climate change as part of the Paris Agreement.

“It also comes at a time when more and more governments are developing integrated climate responses and strategies for sustainable rural economies and reducing poverty,” Kaunda added.

Zambia and Phase II 

The second phase, which runs up to 2022, is likewise commencing in Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, and Viet Nam, with an initial budget of approximately USD 18 million from international donors, including Sweden and Finland.

 The facility will continue supporting small forest and farm producers to scale up work towards achieving a number of SDGs.

 The launch featured success stories from Choma in Southern province and Mwinilunga in North Western province – two pilot districts of the FFF phase I. The initiative resulted in the increased compliance to the law of organized charcoal producers, which raised government revenue collection by 200%.

In addition, over 300 honey producers in Mwinilunga have improved their business from small grants and trainings provided by the FFF.

A role to play

An estimated 1.5 billion forest and farm producers make up 90 percent of the world’s farmers. These producers supply approximately 80 percent of food supplies in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, managing 500 million family farms and approximately 30 percent of forestlands in the global south.

These producers also constitute a large proportion of the rural poor, most of whom are highly dependent on adjacent forests or trees growing on their farms. Jointly, forest and farm producers have a critical role to play as local actors for sustainable global development.

In Zambia, FFF will be collaborating with the Zambia National Forest Commodities Association (ZNFCA), the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ), and the Forest Department. This engagement will strengthen the capacity of Forest and Farm Producers’ Organizations (FFPOs) by helping them engage in cross-sectoral processes by increasing and strengthening their participation and voice in cross-sector policy dialogue platforms.

The FFF in Zambia also teamed up with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) under the European Union-funded wood fuel project and the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme to improve wood fuel value chains.

National and local associations of forest smallholder and community organizations have an important role to play for effective policy implementation and for recognizing natural resource rights of the rural poor and marginalized groups. Chairperson of the ZNFCA, Pastor Musukwa noted, “Forest and Farm Producers’ Organizations (FFPOs), if well organised and linked to the private sector, have a potential to play a significant role in the provision of clean bioenergy initiatives and sustainable wood fuel value chains.”

About the Facility

The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) is a partnership between FAO, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and AgricCord. The latter focuses on strengthening FFFPOs in forest and landscape linking with enabling partners. 

FFF is a cost-effective, demand-driven delivery mechanism that has already reached more than 400 FFPOs and provided regional and global programmes, attracting a combined membership of over 40 million people. The FFF’s work with governmental institutions and regional, national and global partners has leveraged over US$ 130 million to support FFPO activities.

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