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

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iDE and the EU – Creative Cooperation Delivering Results for Rural Farmers

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Today is Europe day which is about celebrating peace and unity across Europe and marking the anniversary of the historic speech made by Robert Schuman in which he declared: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”

This spirit of creative cooperation is one which iDE shares. Whilst the EU was founded on the idea that European cooperation in the coal and steel markets could bring much needed security to Europe, iDE knows that harnessing the power of the market can bring real change and income security to the rural poor.

iDE has a tradition of creative cooperation and partnership with the EU on many of our projects.  Whilst the EU is opening its doors to visitors in Brussels (4th May) and Strasbourg (19th May) to celebrate Europe day, recently iDE opened its doors to an EU delegation to one of the projects that they support in Bangladesh.

Visiting a production and sales planning meeting (PSPM) in Hizla Upazilla

EU delegates at a production and sales planning meeting in Hizla

During their visit to our Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project (ANEP), Mr Phillippe Jacques and other EU delegates were given a taste of life as a Bangladeshi smallholder farmer. The ANEP team put on demonstrations of the treadle pump (pedal powered irrigation technology), the Sex Pheromone Trap (a natural way to avoid pests) and other resource saving vegetable technologies. The officials were then invited to a nutrition education session for mothers and carers. In the peri-urban area of Barisal City, they attended a farmers’ market to see how ANEP has helped develop existing institution’s rural-urban linkage capacities. The second day of the visit involved fish harvesting at the aquaculture demonstration pond, followed by a production and sales planning meeting, catching the attention of The Daily Sattya Sangbad (pictured).

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EU visit press release in The Daily Sattya Sangbad

With the help of the EU, the success of ANEP has exceeded our expectations.  Through creativity, cooperation and a commitment to harnessing the market to achieve food security, iDE has enabled farmers to adopt new techniques, such as integrated pest management, so they can produce off-season vegetables with high nutritional value, such as okra and sweet gourd. We also have introduced carp-poly culture, so fishermen can stock multiple carp species safely because they feed at different depths.

We have further grouped 16,000 vulnerable households with children at crucial stages of development, pregnant and lactating women and those of reproductive age. These families discuss appropriate feeding practices and learn how to counsel other mothers about nutrition. This encourages community leadership and ownership of food security solutions.

The ANEP team also host fun events to initiate the supply of quality food to these vulnerable groups. Urban consumers are entertained at farmers’ markets through songs and cartoons for children around the theme of nutrition.

We are striving to increase the annual income of 51,000 households by 75 Euros by December 2014. The program should then continue to grow via sustainable market linkages. There will be a follow up event to discuss technology transfer and nutrition this summer. This will continue our successful partnership with the EU into the future, with a view to enhancing our strong strategic partnerships within Europe.

For more on our work in Asia click here

For more on our technologies and innovations click here 

For more on Europe Day (including Open Doors events) click here

What next? Please let us know what you would like to hear about in our blog. Click on the speech bubble icon at the top of this post to comment.