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