The proposed project supports the Government of Zambia to strengthen the resilience to climate change risks of vulnerable smallholder farmers in the country’s Agro-Ecological Regions I and II.
These regions are facing increasing risks as a result of climate change, primarily variability of rainfall and increased frequency of droughts, which have direct impacts on the agricultural production in the region. They are also the regions of Zambia which have the highest concentration of poverty incidence and where rain-fed agriculture is predominant. Therefore, the poorest smallholder farmers in these regions are facing devastating impacts on their livelihoods which will further erode development gains. Women are disproportionately affected by these impacts, given their role in ensuring household food production and food/nutritional security, despite their unequal access to land, information and inputs (e.g. improved seeds, fertilizer, tools).
This project aims to increase the resilience of smallholder farmers in Agro-Ecological Regions I and II in Zambia in view of climate change and variability. The project will achieve this aim by taking a value chain approach, addressing risks posed across key stages of the value chain – planning, inputs, production and post-production. The very high co-finance ensures that this project will shift public financing on agriculture towards climate resilient agriculture through strong partnership with GCF and UNDP. GCF funds will only finance the activities that have a clear climate change additionality like climate information and early warning systems, access to water for smallholder farmers and linkages with rural agricultural markets.
The project will make targeted interventions to capitalize on opportunities to strengthen and promote viable climate-resilient value chains relating to smallholder agriculture in the target regions, specifically targeting value chains that are gender sensitive and provide viable economic opportunities for women.
This includes three interrelated outputs: 1) strengthening capacity of farmers to plan for climate risk; 2) strengthening resilient agricultural production and diversification practices (for both food security and income generation); and 3) strengthening farmers’ access to markets and commercialization of introduced resilient agricultural commodities. The third output on markets and commercialization is important as it will help to drive the production of resilient agriculture commodities and help to ensure the sustainability of the first two outputs. Capacity-building will be given deliberate emphasis across the various levels, starting from the national to the community level. This will target all the major project outputs and institutions, including extension, Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) and farmer field schools. The project interventions will have a strong focus on women, given their unique capacities and vulnerabilities.