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Zambia, EU, and FAO launch conservation agriculture project

4 March 2014,Lusaka – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) with financial support from the European Union (EU) have officially launched the Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up (CASU) project which aims to contribute to reduced hunger, improved food security, nutrition and income while promoting sustainable use of natural resources in Zambia.

The CASU project objective is in line with the Zambian government’s plans and policies on agricultural development i.e. the National Agricultural Policy (NAP), National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) and the revised Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP), among others.  The project will contribute to government efforts aimed at increasing crop production and productivity for small and medium scale farmers in Zambia. The project is a four year project (2013 – 2017) funded by the European Union (EU) through the Tenth European Development Fund (EDF) at a total cost of €11m and is jointly implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) in 31 districts across 9 provinces in Zambia. The project will benefit a total of 21,000 Lead Farmers (LF) and an additional 315,000 Follower Farmers (FF) of which at least 40% should be women.

At the launch of the project, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Hon. Robert Sichinga explained that government recognizes the importance of conservation agriculture’s interventions and that it is a preferred and official means of promoting agricultural development and achieving food security in Zambia.

“According to the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) about 600,000 small scale farmers are targeted for conservation agriculture adoption by the year 2015 from the current 250,000 but we are working hard to ensure every farmer adopts conservation agriculture in Zambia”, Hon. Sichinga said. Hence, the CASU project and other similar initiatives are very important in supplementing government efforts to scale up conservation agriculture and meet the intended target.

On his part, FAO Representative, George Okech emphasized the importance of the partnership on this project between the three (3) institutions to ensure its success. He mentioned FAO’s added advantage to this project and the role that the organization will play to ensure the project is successful.

“FAO’s role on the CASU project is to provide technical support during the implementation period and also to ensure overall project management both narrative and financial”, Mr. Okech said.

‘FAO provides technical, logistical and operational support and serves as a liaison between the Ministry and various partners involved in Conservation Agriculture activities.’

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Zambia, Gilles Hervio also emphasized the importance of the partnership between Zambia, FAO  and the EU on this project. According to Gilles Hervio, the European Union (EU) in Zambia has been supporting conservation agriculture since 2009 in an innovative and successful manner with three (3) successive projects at a total of €17 Million mainly working through FAO and the ministerial structures.

The CASU project is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) structures to ensure sustainability and the government has already committed over 820 technical agricultural extension service staff at all levels of the Ministry to participate and contribute to the success of the project.  

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This news release was issued by the FAO Zambia., House No. 5 Addis Ababa Drive Ridgeway P. O. Box 30563, Lusaka, Zambia   Tel:  +260 211 252277 Fax: +260 211 254173 E-mail: FAO-ZM@fao.org Website: www.fao.org

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