By Lawrence Kabutu

Over 10,000 farmers in Southern and Western Provinces are to benefit in the enhanced rural household food security smart and environmentally friendly agricultural practices in Zambia.

Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) Senior Agricultural Research Officer William Funsani says the farmers are to benefit from the 3 year project in 5 districts of the two provinces.

Mr. Funsani named the target crop value chains in which farmers will be engaged in as cowpeas, groundnuts, Sorghum, Pearl millet, Sweet Potatoes and Cassava to enhance their food security.

He clarified that the climate resilient crops promoted by the project are self pollinated seed that can be recycled by farmers to use as seed banks under the various protocols.

Mr. Funsani named the Project as the Enhancing Food Security through Integration of Climate Resilience Crops in Maize based Farming Systems among small scale farmers in Zambia and Nambia Project.

And Mr. Funsani disclosed that so far a total of 29 Farmer Field Schools have been established in the targeted districts in which 3 camps per district will be covered.

He named the operational districts where the project has started implementing its activities in various field crop protocols as Gwembe, Sinazongwe, Choma, Kazungula, and Sesheke.

Mr. Funsani who was speaking to NAIS in Kazungula said the project is funded by the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management.

He observed that the partner countries for the project implemented by ZARI in Zambia are Germany, South Africa, and Nambia.

And Siamulunga Camp Extension Officer Paius Michelo said farmers have been trained through the Farm Field Schools on how to grow the Climate Resilient Crops.

Mr. Michelo revealed that 6 facilitators running farmer field schools and other 6 demonstrators running demonstration plots with 30 follower farmers each have been trained on how to grow and manage the Climate Resilient crops.

He said the crops are aimed at enhancing household food security among rural communities in Kazungula district.

Mr. Michelo asserted that the crops grown by farmers will be used as seed to enable them access seed at their door steps.

And Wendy Mabuku a Facilitator under the project said farmers livelihoods will be uplifted by the project as they venture in diverse field crops value chains.

Mrs. Mabuku said the famers have leant how to do best practices such as crop rotation to improve the soil health and fertility.

Meanwhile David Anguleti says the project has trained facilitators in data collection both in field and post harvest.

Mr. Anguleti noted that the project has further trained the facilitators in post harvest management and other best practices in climate smart and environmentally friendly agricultural practices.