Traité international sur les ressources phytogénétiques pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Improving Livelihoods of Smallholder Farmers Through Increased Bean Productivity , Production and Income in Zambia
Where are we working?

The project is working in ten districts of Northern, Muchinga and Luapula Provinces of Zambia, addressing low bean productivity, production and incomes among smallholders. Farmers in these regions experience low bean yields of less than 0.5 tonne/hectare, due to a number of factors that include the emergence of pests and diseases, unpredictable weather patterns, low access to quality seed and poor agronomic practices.

What are we doing?

The project is currently implementing the following activities:
  • Collection and evaluation of bean germplasm/lines.
  • On-farm conservation and use of locally adapted landraces and varieties.
  • Dissemination of adapted varieties.
  • Promotion of best-bet practices in bean production.
  • Training of farmers in seed production and establishment of community seed systems.
  • Conducting field days and seed fairs to disseminate technologies.
  • Conducting targeted training to build capacity of extension agents, researchers and technicians in project implementation.
  • Linking farmers to markets.

What has been achieved to date?

To date, the project has reached 10 816 smallholder farmers through various interventions and has increased their bean productivity and income by an average of 10.3 percent and 51.1 percent, respectively. Other achievements include the reintroduction and on-farm conservation of eight locally adapted landraces and increased access to quality bean seed. Resilience has been further enhanced by farmer acceptance of best-bet agronomical practices promoted through various on-farm demonstrations.
The project has also generated improved farmer capacity to produce bean seed according to prescribed standards and guidelines. In addition, there has been a notable increase (48 percent) in the number of women farmers participating in various project agricultural activities in the area, as well as in non-project agricultural activities. Project implementation has favourably impacted the capacity of extension agents, technicians and researchers to discharge their duties effectively

Who has benefited?

To date, beneficiaries of the project have included:
  • 10 749 farmers through different project interventions, such as training, demonstrations, field days, seed fairs, access to seeds (5 160 females, 5 589 males).
  • 54 officers (16 females and 38 males) trained through various targeted capacity-building initiatives; 27 researchers, technicians and extension agents trained in data management and analysis; 3 researchers trained in molecular breeding; 4 researchers trained in monitoring and evaluation; and at least 20 extension officers trained in bean production practices and gender mainstreaming.
  • 13 students (6 females, 8 males) also benefited through on-station activities.

Best practices and success stories

Targeted project beneficiaries (farmers) were enthusiastic about the performance of various good agricultural practices implemented during the period under review. Beneficiary farmers experienced bean yield increases of about 10.3 percent and an average income growth rate of 51.1 percent. The higher productivity and incomes recorded among smallholder farmers has enhanced their socio-economic well-being by improving their capacity to access various household resources through available income. The project team has learned the importance of implementing activities that are relevant in meeting the needs of beneficiaries as planned. Most of the beneficiary farmers are now able to access different varieties/landraces of beans to meet the prevailing demand for beans. The dissemination of diverse bean varieties that are also demand-driven has increased farmers’ resilience to biophysical and socio-economic shocks, as attested by project and non-project participants. The project achieved this outcome through the seed system and through seed drops, which were freely distributed to all members of the community who attended the seed fairs.
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Africa
Target Countries: Zambia
Implementing institution: Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI): link to dedicated web
Partners involved: Total Land Care, Self Help Africa, Community Markets for Conservation, Afri-Seed company, Good Nature Agro, Seed Control and Certification Institute, Department of Agriculture
Contributing Donors: IFAD, SDC, GAC
Contact details: Misamfu Regional Research Centre, Box 410055, Kasama, Zambia [email protected]

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