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

Season’s Greetings from iDE UK!

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As the end of the year approaches, iDE UK would like to thank all of our supporters and reflect on the fantastic progress we have made over the last year.

What a great year it has been for iDE UK, we have welcomed new volunteers, interns and staff, continued our brilliant work and started on some exciting new projects for 2013. On top of this, we have just ended the year with the fantastic news that we have raised over £30,000 in just three days thanks to our generous supporters, The Waterloo Foundation and The Big Give Christmas Challenge!

In terms of our projects, we have had yet another successful year, and we continue to expand into new areas and countries.

We are still working hard on the Nepal and Bangladesh Agriculture and Nutrition Extension (ANE) project, which is funded by the EU and involves us managing a diverse group of partners including Save the Children, CIMMYT and WorldFish. The project is supporting 51,000 households to improve their food security and is increasing child nutrition in 16,000 households in Nepal and Bangladesh. The project ensures cutting edge agricultural technology, which vastly improves productivity, is getting into local shops for smallholder farmers to buy. This means that highly efficient and affordable irrigation machinery like the Axial Flow Pump become available to the poorest farmers.

Cambodia has also enjoyed a fantastic year, with successes in sanitation with the Sanmark project, as well as winning a prestigious Ashden Award with Hydrologic, gaining a gold standard with Carbon Offset Funding and continuing to help smallholder farmers through Farm Business Advisor programmes.

We are also going strong on our Ethiopia Smallholder Markets and Agriculture Resilience Transformation (SMART) Project in Ethiopia, helping 36,500 smallholder farming households, consisting of approximately 219,000 individuals out of poverty. So far, 4,419 smallholders have received a total of approximately 15.47 tonnes of certified seeds through our micro-finance institutions and new technologies!

We have also had a great year in Vietnam, through our Fertiliser Deep Placement Technologies (FDP) project funded by the innocent foundation. In this project we have successfully reached many of our targets and by the summer of 2012 2,726 farmers had adopted FDP technologies. Through applying FDP to their rice crops, the farmers have seen their fertilizer costs fall and their quantity of rice produced rise, leading to a 71.8% increase in income.

We are also now working to expand our farm Business Advisor programme into Mozambique, with the help of SIDA’s Innovations Against Poverty funding. SIDA’s support has allowed us to develop a comprehensive business plan; with many interested private investors we are presently hunting for the right social investor to implement the plan and match this exciting prospect to provide technical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Next year we will start a project in Zambia, which will match local farmers to mining companies in order to create a market providing fresh fruit and vegetables to the mining workers. Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, utilising the markets created by new mines opening up in the area (with up to 36,000 hungry miners to feed each day) and supporting farmers to grow their way out of poverty in the long-term.

This year we have helped thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia realise their entrepreneurial potential and work their way out of poverty. Next year we aim to continue this success and help thousands more!

iDE UK 2012 Review

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.