Zambia, EU and FAO launch conservation agriculture project in Zambia
Lusaka, 04 March 2014 – FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) with financial support from the European Union (EU) have 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 project will contribute to government efforts aimed at increasing crop production and productivity for small and medium scale farmers in Zambia. It is a four year project (2013 – 2017) funded by the European Union (EU) at a total cost of €11 millionand is jointly implemented by 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 the government recognizes that conservation agriculture is a preferred 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.
On his part, FAO Representative, George Okech emphasized the importance of the partnership on this project between the three institutions. He mentioned FAO’s added advantage to this project.
“FAO’s role 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,” he added.
The European Union (EU) Ambassador, 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 successive projects at a total of €17 million mainly working through FAO and the ministerial structures.