A Conservation Farming Success Story

In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, BCP’s support to a conservation agriculture initiative is enhancing food security in some of Zambia’s most vulnerable communities. Our Government partners and BCP have been partnering with local farmers to train them in sustainable agricultural practices that restore soil quality, increase yields, and reduce overall food insecurity in their communities. Higher yields and richer soils also mean there is less of a need to clear forest land for additional food production. A win for both people and the planet!
Mr. Ernest Mwale is one of the “Lead Farmers” supported through this partnership with Government in Jumbe Chiefdom in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Since Mr. Mwale adopted conservation farming techniques, there has been a significant increase in his crop yield. With traditional conventional farming methods, he used to harvest 13 bags of maize in a season. After he shifted to conservation farming techniques catalyzed through the Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP), Mr. Mwale more than doubled his yield to over 30 bags of maize. The increase in production that he has achieved is life-changing.
“This is amazing. Since I started Conservation Farming I have been food secure with my family throughout the year. I have also been practicing crop rotation with groundnuts, distributing the risk failure of one crop. I will still be able to have a good harvest from the other crop while maintaining soil fertility at the same time. I no longer need to shift my fields. – Mr. Mwale

Mr. Mwale’s leadership has been exemplary. Lead Farmers are typically responsible for mentoring 15 “Follower Farmers;” however, Mr. Mwale supports more than 30 Follower Farmers. He provides his Follower Farmers with training in climate smart agriculture that will help them to increase their household incomes as well as their family’s food security.
Household nutrition security is elusive in rural Zambia, especially as rainy seasons become more erratic. Poverty rates in the Eastern Province are some of the highest in Zambia, which in turn is one of the highest in Africa. Achieving nutrition security is fundamental if forests are to be protected in a rural economy which depends on agriculture.  Climate finance conservation agriculture is funded by the sale of community forest offsets. BCP’s partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Department are central to REDD+ financed climate smart agriculture activities.

In the face of the effects of climate change, promoting Climate Smart Agricultural technologies is the way to go because community members who adopt these technologies see immediate benefits with improved yields recorded, which in turn creates food and nutrition security at a household level.  In turn, they don’t need to shift to new fields which often means clearing intact forest.” – Shadreck Ngoma, BCP’s Agricultural Development Co-Coordinator

Community livelihood initiatives such as such as Conservation Agriculture, EcoCharcoal, and Bee-keeping have been pillars of BCP’s livelihood approach since our founding in 2012.  Although both projects have been VCS verified and are triple gold CCB, it is clear to BCP we need to do much more.  This is clearer in a COVID-19 year where the economy is contracting and there is more of a need for agriculture to produce.  Our efforts to create impacts environmentally, but socially as well, through the generation of community forest offsets are creating social safety nets and hope in rural Zambian communities.

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