The Community Development and Social Justice Department (CDSJD) and the Projects Department of the United Church of Zambia conducted a training workshop for 16 lead farmers in Petauke District of Eastern Province at Phackeni Lodge from 9th to 23rd July 2013. The resource persons were Mr. Siwo (Block Officer for Ukwimi) and Mr. Chama (Acting Senior Agriculture Officer), both under Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO). Other resource persons were Rev. Alice Nalwembe Mulenga (UCZ Synod Community Development and Social Justice Secretary), Mr. Boniface Mafwela (UCZ Synod Projects Secretary), and Mr. Stanley Kabwe Mukupa (UCZ, Project Officer based in Mumbwa under CDSJD).
Project name: An Integrated Community Approach to Land Use for Ecological and Economical Agricultural Production in Selected Areas of Petauke, Eastern Zambia. – A Contribution towards sustainable Agriculture in light of Climate Change.
GEF Focal Area: Land Degradation
Brief Description of general objective of the project: To support small scale farmers in the transition from conventional agricultural practices to ecological and economical agricultural production through alternative farming practices and land use management for self-sustainability, raised levels of food security and income thereby contributing to regeneration of the environment for future generation
Project’s main objective
To support subsistence/small-scale farmers in the Petauke District of the Eastern Province of Zambia in the transition from conventional agricultural practices with high external input to ecological and economical agricultural production through alternative farming methods and land management for self-sustainability, raised levels of food security and income and thereby contributing to the protection and regeneration of the environment for future generations.
- Developing in a participatory approach strong organizational structures with a multiplying effect of skills and knowledge transfer.
- Building and expanding on existing farming capacities through specific skills development in sustainable (organic) conservation farming methods, environmentally sustainable land use and resource management including improved livestock management, the introduction of green manure and agro-forestry as integral part of sustainable agriculture.
Duration of the Project: 24 months (2012 – 2013)
Funder: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the GEF – Small Grants Facility (SGF)
Amount: US$ 50, 000
Opening the Workshop
The training workshop was officially opened by the Presbytery Bishop for Eastern Presbytery, Rev Jonathan Sikazwe, who urged the participants to take the concept of conservation farming (CF) very seriously as he challenged the farmers … “I call upon you all lead farmers to join hands with your Church (UCZ) in conservation farming. If we go the conservation farming way, there shall be more food in our households, and we shall conquer hunger and poverty. Without a farmer, there is no food. Without food, there is no household. Without a house hold, there is no life.”
The training workshop comprised classroom lectures and hand-on field practice. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, through the District Agricultural Coordinator for Petauke District facilitated the field work. The Small Grants Facility Coordinator under the General Environmental Facility (GEF) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under Small Grants Facility, Mrs. Gertrude Matokwani Chiholyonga, visited the farmers on project monitoring. She expressed happiness at the proceedings of the workshop and the enthusiasm of the participants. The lead farmers attending the workshop were 16 in all, 8 each from Ukwimi and Mondola. In turn, they would reach out to a minimum of 15 participating farmers each, by way of conducting trainings and providing technical advice with the Camp Officer under MACO, bringing the total number of trained farmers to over 256.
The training workshop was centered on field preparation, preparation and treatment composite dumps and application of the composite. The target crops were sesbania sesban, velvet beans and trefotsia, which will serve as cover crops.
Through workshops like this one, the United Church of Zambia has continued to partner with Government in uplifting the lives of the Zambian people. The project is expected to compliment Government efforts toward achieving the Millennium Development goal 7 (Ensure environmental sustainability ) and 1(Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger), and ensuring Food Security under Vision 2013, by conserving the nation’s forest reserve, promote the use of organic Fertilizers, and improve food production for household consumption and sale.