FAO Regional Office for Africa

Capacity building amidst COVID - 19 Pandemic - Zambia

Photo: ©FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the Forest and Farm Facility Project (FFF) is providing trainings to Forest and Farm producers in selected districts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for strategic government engagements.  

The FFF Project is a global partnership programme between FAO, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and AgriCord. FFF Project works to strengthen producer groups for climate change adaptation and building resilient landscapes in Zambia. 

The FFF National Facilitator Vincent Ziba said the project has collaborated with farmer organisation groups, the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) and the Zambia National Forestry Commodities association (ZNFCA).

The capacity building events are focusing on policy advocacy of Forest and Farm Producer Organizations and their members’ effective participation in cross-sectorial multi stakeholder policy platforms.  The training targets 120 beneficiaries

“The trainings are running from 4th to 8th May 2020 in Petauke and Nyimba districts of Eastern Province and later from 11th to the 15th of May in Choma of Southern Province, conducted in groups of 15 maximum participants following Government’s COVID-19 directive of not more than 50 people per gathering,” Ziba said. 

Ziba explained in an interview that FFF and its partners are strictly following the World Health Organisation (WHO) and government’s precautions in conducting the trainings. 

He observed that Covid-19 Pandemic has threatened the livelihoods of forest and farm producers with restricted travels to sale their season forest and farm products that might go to waste due to poor storage facilities.

The Zambian Government in collaboration with WHO have provided guidelines among them exercising exemplary general hygiene and social distancing in a bid to combat the COVID - 19 pandemic that has adversely affected all sectors of the economy. 

Ziba observed that agriculture is experiencing a unique challenge resulting from limited interaction between farmers, extension officers and other players in the food value chain.

“These trainings will improve the capacity of the producers to engage with policy makers and be able to access Government and other cooperating partners COVID-19 Emergency funds to cope with the negative impacts of the pandemic,” he said.

The FFF National Facilitator explained that CAZ and ZNFCA meeting  has also invited a medical personnel from the Ministry of Health to share with the groups precautionary  measures against COVID-19 in their day to day forest and Farm livelihoods activities. 

“Farmers are encouraged to observe the COVID-19 WHO safety guidelines including the regular washing of hands with water and wearing face masks throughout the training sessions,” explained Ziba.

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