(Lusaka, Zambia – 2 May 2022) - Small-scale farmers across Zambia have begun harvesting the first season crops from a climate-smart project aimed at securing livelihoods and protecting wildlife.
They are part of a project to improve the income of communities and individual farmers, by training them to farm high-value crops like groundnuts, soybeans and cowpeas and reducing reliance on poaching for bush meat or for profit.
The project targets 3,500 mostly female farmers—1,000 in Malawi and 2,500 in Zambia—across a 32,278 km² part of the Malawi-Zambia Trans frontier Conservation Area (TFCA). The area includes extensive communal lands as well as three national parks, Lukusuzi and Luambe in Zambia and Kasungu in Malawi.
A partnership between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) and funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), has begun recruiting and training 30 local leaders in the TFCA who will, in turn, each train and monitor 83 farmers. Others will learn to identify products such as mushrooms and caterpillars to sell for income and to prevent illegal activities such as poaching and cutting down trees for charcoal.
“Climate change is negatively affecting small-scale farmers in the Lukusuzi/Kasungu TFCA landscape in Zambia and Malawi leading to a loss of income. This can lead to people engaging in poaching of wildlife for subsistence or profit,” said Neil Greenwood, IFAW Regional Director Southern Africa.
“IFAW believes people and animals thrive together. By supporting climate-smart livelihoods in communities in the TFCA, we can improve incomes and protect wildlife from the threat of poaching.”
“The focus of the project is finding practical, cost-effective solutions to the growing challenges of climate change that small-scale, poor farmers face today. It expands on COMACO’s current range of works with 230,000 farmers by identifying 3,500 vulnerable households encompassing mainly women and youth and supporting them with multiple livelihood skills for increased income and food security,” said Dale Lewis, CEO and Founder of COMACO.
Following entirely organic principles COMACO trains farmers in organic principles that includes planting legumes to improve soil nutrition, and to practice crop rotation to keep fields healthy.
Crops are planted alongside Gliricidia sepium trees, which provide additional nutrition to soil and are a natural pest repellent.
“COMACO planted 60 million trees for the 2021-2022 season. Our plan is also to plant 1.75 million trees under this project—500 agroforestry seedlings per 0.25 hectares of farmlands per farmer,” said Dale Lewis.
COMACO will also distribute 1,000 Better Life books to local schools and farmer producer groups in Zambia and Malawi. The book is a local language training manual with colour-printed visual aids covering topics on sustainable agriculture, crop, and agroforestry management.
- IFAW is the sole author and the views expressed are IFAW’s and not those of GIZ.
- “Enhancing Climate Resilience and Cross Border Collaborations in Kasungu/Lukusuzi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (TFCA)” is a project of IFAW and COMACO supported and funded by GIZ.
About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish.
See how at ifaw.org
About the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO)
The Community Markets for Conservation is a social enterprise that reaches more than 230,000 small-scale farmers in Zambia, 1,800 of whom are reformed poachers, to adopt farming practices that keep soils healthy and forests less threatened by the need to clear trees to create more farmland. It is from these farmers that we pay premium market prices for their crops to manufacture 20 nutritious and high value food products under the brand It’s wild!
See more at itswild.org
m: +27 (0)82 330 2558