LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Ten thousand emerging farmers across Zambia will receive support to increase their productivity, incomes, and sustainable farming practices under a new project spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Corteva Agriscience, Global Communities, and John Deere.
The objective of the Zambia Emerging Farmers Partnership is to transform Zambia’s largely subsistence sector through the commercialization of emerging farmers. The three-year project will leverage more than K777 million (US$37 million) in loans for inputs and equipment, resulting in more than 50,000 hectares of crops planted using climate-adaptive seeds and other sustainable technologies.
The Emerging Farmers collaboration will catalyze greater productivity of emerging farmers working with 20-60 hectares of land, as well as support their communities and contribute to building a resilient global food system in Central Province (Mumbwa, Chibombo, Kapiri and Luano), Southern Province (Chikankata, Mazabuka, Monze, Kalomo and Choma), Copperbelt Province (Mpongwe, Lufwanyama and Masaiti), Eastern Province (Petauke), and North-Western Province (Solwezi and Kasempa).
Youth and women will represent 30 percent of the project’s key beneficiaries and will be empowered with educational resources, technologies, and access to capital.
Agronomists from Corteva Agriscience, the company behind Pannar® and Pioneer® brand seeds, will work directly with farmers to enhance adoption of hybrid seed and crop protection technologies, and advance sustainable farming practices.
“This collaboration is aligned to Corteva’s 2030 sustainability goals, spanning a wide range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities, and operations”, said Subbarao Kolli, President of Africa and Middle East at Corteva Agriscience. “We will bring unparalleled technical expertise and innovative approaches and support the needs of farmers to help improve productivity, incomes and sustainable farming practices.”
Tractor and agricultural machinery company John Deere will establish equipment service provision models to increase farmer access to mechanization for optimal production and harvesting.
“Through our proven mechanization solutions and customer lifecycle support, John Deere is committed to improve the livelihoods of people across the continent – in this case especially the communities of Zambia,” said Jaco Beyers, Director Sales and Marketing, John Deere Africa & Middle East. “We are honored to be part of this project and with the direct involvement and support from our dealer partner in Zambia, Afgri Equipment, we will live up to this commitment.”
USAID and development organization Global Communities will train farmers on production techniques, post-harvest handling, and transport; increase access to credit and finance; and link farmers to markets.
“The U.S. government prioritizes enterprise-driven inclusive economic growth, and we are excited to launch yet another partnership with the private sector to advance this goal,” said Chargé d’Affaires a.i. David Young. “By leveraging Corteva’s world-class seed technologies, offering farmers better access to high quality John Deere equipment, and coordinating with Global Communities and their innovative approaches to addressing rural poverty, USAID hopes to catalyze a dramatic improvement in farmer yields and income.”
“Agriculture is a key driver and enabler of economic development and national food security. Government has therefore placed agriculture as a priority sector. Farming is profitable if farmers produce efficiently; and empowering smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and grow their income is the sure way to eradicate hunger, poverty and improve community livelihoods,” said Michael Z.J. Katambo, MP, Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Zambia.
Zambia’s agriculture remains primarily subsistence, in which approximately 1.5 million smallholder farmers eke out a modest livelihood on less than two2 hectares of land. Smallholder farmers use hand tillage to prepare the soil and women contribute a significant amount of labor, particularly for weeding. Maize productivity is low due to limited adoption of improved technologies and practices. In addition, smallholder farmers are vulnerable due to their reliance on rainfall which has become more variable due to climate change.
“Global Communities is proud to be part of this extraordinary partnership,” said David A. Weiss, CEO of Global Communities. “Global Communities works to advance innovative agricultural interventions side-by-side with rural families, particularly women farmers who are at the vanguard of their communities. We connect people with resources, training, and access to capital so they can build healthy, secure, stable lives – even in the face of climate change’s increasing impact on food security.”