A Win-Win situation in Zambia

One year after the start of our WIN (Wealth Creation through Irrigation in North-Western province) initiative in Solwezi, Zambia, many farmers like Lucia have improved their knowledge, productivity and income. Thanks to iDE’s fruitful relationship with mining company Barrick Lumwana (a division of Barrick Gold) – they are able to sell their produce to Africa’s largest copper mine in order to feed over 3,000 workers. Read on for a snippet written by an EU team after their recent visit to the project:

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Increasing Farm Productivity

East of Solwezi, Zambia, farmer Lucia Kaseba Mwansa (left) explains how a loan obtained earlier in 2013 allowed her to buy fertilizer to improve her crop of impwa (a variety of aubergine).

With this, training on irrigation techniques, and access to a wider community of farmers and agro-dealers, she hopes to continue to improve her yield, increase her income and allow her to save for a treadle pump – which could allow her to expand further.

Lucia’s story isn’t unique: she is one of thousands of farmers in North-Western Province identified by the WIN project who are on the verge of turning their farms into sustainable and profitable enterprises.

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Selling the Produce

A decisive reason for the success of this project is the partnership with the mining company Barrick Lumwana, which funds 25% of the 1m Euro project. Barrick has become a bulk purchaser of the farmers’ produce, since they have a great demand of fruits and vegetables to feed the miners. For Barrick there is a huge advantage in that they can buy local, healthy food and avoid expensive transportation from as far away as South Africa. This has created a win-win situation for both parties.

Read IDE’s description of the project

Key facts

  • WIN is a four-year, 1m euro project which began in December 2012, with 75% funding from the EU and 25% from Barrick Lumwana.
  • The WIN is implemented by IDE and the Nutri-Aid Trust (NAT)
  • WIN works closely with Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to identify around 3,500 farmers (over 20,000 individuals, 33% women) who can most benefit from participation in the project.
  • WIN uses a variety of approaches: training and use of demonstration plots to showcase effective irrigation and planting methods; use of the ‘Farm Business Adviser’ model (for more information click here)  to link farmers with agro-dealers (pictured above) and microfinance institutions; identification of collection centres to make it easier and cheaper for farmers to get their produce to market.
  • 20 demonstration plots have been created, showcasing irrigation technologies, good field layout and horticultural practice. 33 farm business advisors and 27 community agro-dealers have started work in Year 1.

IDE believes that giveaways are harmful to local markets and cannot be sustained in the long term. Read more about the approach and similar work in Nepal and Bangladesh and Ethiopia

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To see the full report go on the EU Website:  http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/zambia/press_corner/all_news/news/2013/20131129_1_en.htm

iDE UK creates business opportunities for Zambian farmers

iDE UK invests in small holder Zambian farmers to combat poverty and create win-win opportunities with local mining companies


We are very happy to announce that we have recently received approval to begin a brand new project in Zambia, which will bring iDE UK together with a local Zambian NGO called Nutri-aid Trust. The project will be based in the North-Western province, which is the poorest, most remote and least developed region of Zambia, with 61% of the population classified as ‘extremely poor’.

iDE UK will work towards developing the entrepreneurial skills of small holder farmers whilst introducing them to income generating opportunities and innovative technologies. This will include a number of micro-irrigation systems, such as the treadle pump. The project will also adopt iDE’s award winning Farm Business Advisor (FBA) approach, whereby local entrepreneurs are trained by iDE to encourage and equip farmers to grow market-oriented crops as well as advise farmers how to reduce risk, improve productivity, and increase income.

On top of this, a vital aspect of the project involves local mining companies in the area, who present a valuable retail opportunity for the local farmers and communities. These mining companies will benefit from the project as the farmers will provide food for their workers. This is not only environmentally friendly as large quantities of food are not being shipped in from other areas, but also creates large and profitable markets for the farmers to take advantage of. This win-win situation utilises the market to create business opportunities that not only helps the poor rural farmers out of poverty, but is environmentally friendly and creates a valuable opportunity for the mining companies.

Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, creating new markets and drawing farmers out of poverty in the long-term.

iDE UK featured in The Independent for World Food Day 2012

Supplement featuring iDE UK highlights success in ensuring food security and poverty reduction in poorest regions of the globe.

Food is a fundamental human necessity, yet feeding rising populations across the globe sustainably and equally remains a large and complex challenge. World Food Day, which falls every year on the 16th October, aims to increase public awareness on global hunger and the fight against malnutrition and poverty across the globe.

For this year’s World Food Day The Independent has produced a supplement, which includes an iDE UK success story, about how iDE’s innovative small farm technologies are helping to combat food insecurity and poverty. The iDE UK case study follows the success story of Robert and Andrew Mwanza from Zambia, who purchased a treadle pump with the help of iDE UK back in 1999 to help irrigate their crops. The brothers now maintain a well irrigated farm and grow large and varied crops. The supplement also features a number of beautiful photographs by David Graham for iDE UK, such as the one above.

iDE UK understands the importance of agriculture and technology in creating food sustainability and uprooting thousands of rural farmers across Asia and Africa out of poverty. A solid agricultural sector not only ensures adequate food and nutrition, but also provides an income and increases health, creating the first steps out of poverty.

Click here to find out more about iDE UK

RLG International and Ramsey Foundation visit iDE Zambia

iDE Zambia’s Sam Harvey updates us on playing host to two distinguished supporters of iDE’s Farm Business Advisor (FBA) program in Zambia.

Farm Business Advisors Project Poster iDE Zambia

I have recently returned from a vacation to Zambia’s premiere National Park South Luangua, the highlight of which was watching a gang (I’m not sure of the collective noun) of 20-30 meerkats chasing ‘Molly’, a tabby cat, round and round my bush tent.

Whilst nothing of late can possibly top that, I have also had a fantastic time providing an insight into the on-the-ground work of iDE Zambia and our FBA program with some of iDE’s important new partners, RLG International, a worldwide organisation of performance improvement specialists based in Vancouver and the Ramsey Foundation, a donor-advised, private fund operating from Colorado.

On Tuesday the 31st myself and iDE Zambia’s Southern Province Team Leader, Willard Chitembo drove down to Livingstone, the home of the Victoria Falls, to meet Steve Baroch and Ana Xiemes, Rudy and Alice Ramsey and their 14 year old grandson Carlos.

Steve Baroch is a prominent Rotarian who has been an iDE ambassador for the past 6 months, spreading the word about iDE in Colorado and further afield internationally. His partner, Ana, works for RLG International, and Rudy and Alice run the Rudy and Alice Ramsey Foundation.

The following three-day ‘immersion trip’ was an opportunity for them to learn about the FBA program which they are helping support. We asked Rudy to blog about their experience. It’s a great read with some excellent photos!

So how are RLG International and the Ramsey Foundation helping support iDE’s FBA programme?

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Relishing Zambia: iDE, Farm Business Advisors and…Nshima?

iDE UK’s Programmes Manager, David Jackson fills us in on the latest from Zambia whilst sampling the nation’s favourite dish.

On my first field trip as the new Programmes Manager at iDE UK – a role that means I will be supporting the management of existing projects and helping to write new ones – I have so far unfortunately been chained to the desk writing a proposal for the EU, as our deadline is tight! However, I have had the opportunity to meet the excellent iDE Zambian team and join in their staff lunches. Sure enough, every lunchtime they have a plate of ‘Nshima and Relish’ – the national Zambian staple dish – cooked by the excellent iDE Zambia chef and general office institution Joanne.

Nshima is made by boiling maize flour with water to form a rather bland (to my English overindulged taste buds!) porridge – this is then usually combined with a rather tasty relish, piece of chicken and some greens. What the Nshima lacks in taste it certainly makes up for in filling you up, which is one of the reasons it has established itself as the preferred meal for millions of Africans all over southern Africa.

I am not here to only enjoy the food though!

iDE’s EU proposal will help contribute to the staple ingredients of the food Zambians eat. It aims to support farmers living in the North West Provence – the Copperbelt of Zambia – access improved inputs and greater income from their produce. Traditionally they are subsistence farmers growing maize (that makes up the Nshima). But it is vegetables (such as tomato for the relish) that bring greater returns.

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Entrepreneur Spirit Shines Bright in Chimbombo, Zambia

Sam Harvey reports on three Chimbombo farmers who have embraced the iDE entrepreneur philosophy, transforming the lives of their families and community. 

Entrepreneur farmers, Zambia - iDE UK

The rainy season has ended in Zambia. For me this doesn’t really have any impact, except I won’t have to bring my umbrella to work anymore. No big deal. Yet for the 37, 000 small-scale farmer headed households in Chibombo in the Central District of Zambia, this seasonal variation in precipitation is vitally important, due to the dependence on the rain and traditional hoe cultivation to grow maize, the main staple crop.

I was thinking about this as I travelled North along the well named Great North Road to meet a group of farmers at Mukalashi Community in the heart of Chibombo. I pondered how if the rains are bad (this year they happened to be average) then many small-scale farmers would struggle just to make ends meet as they’d get little return on their maize. They do not have assets or cash to fall back on and there is no government safety net to catch them if they fall.

With this nestling uncomfortably in the back of my mind, I admit I was not in the greatest of moods when I arrived at Mukalashi Community School. Yet this preface made the encounter I had with Kaspar Mazaloze, Mike Phillip Ugala and Elias Ngoma, three small-scale farmers working with iDE through the Rural Prosperity Initiative (RPI) and RPI2, all the more uplifting. In fact, it was the very definition of inspirational.

I was in Chibombo to find out their experience of obtaining a micro-loan facilitated by an iDE Farm Business Advisor earlier in 2011. They were part of a loan-group of five farmers and had all successfully made repayments on time. Whilst this story is important in itself, what emerged over the next two and a half hours of discussion was a far more all-encompassing story involving the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ of three men determined to cultivate their own potential and realise their dreams. The experience has redefined my expectations of what iDE can achieve by working to empower dollar a day small-scale farmers through our programmes. Theirs is a story worth hearing…

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Female Farmers: Powerful Contributors to Agricultural Development

On International Women’s Day we would like to highlight the tremendous contribution that women smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia make to their economies and communities. It is iDE’s fundamental belief that all poor people have the right to a secure livelihood, and that both men and women play vital, yet often different, roles in the pursuit of secure livelihoods for their families.

iDE helps poor families generate additional income by increasing access to affordable income-generating technologies and market opportunities.  We follow a business-like approach, treating smallholder farmers—whether male or female—as customers rather than as charity recipients.

Recognising the significant size of the female market segment and the important role that women play in agricultural production and household well-being, iDE ensures that women farmers are as likely as male farmers to benefit from programme interventions.

We would like to invite you to visit the farms of our most inspiring Zambian female farming entrepreneurs, Anita Mwembe and Veronica Sianchenga – hear it in their own words and see the results of their hard work.

On International Women’s Day join us in celebrating the achievements of the millions of women in business on rural farms in Africa

iDE UK