Zambia looks to climate-smart agriculture to combat poverty
The government in Zambia has long known about the threat that climate change poses to its economy and the livelihood of its citizens. Estimated losses to the country’s GDP from its impacts on agriculture have generally ranged from substantial to very substantial.
But with the help of new investment from the World Bank, and other development agencies, the government is fighting back by giving farmers the skills they need to survive.
The Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape project is a $33 million scheme designed to provide rural communities in the country’s Eastern Province with the resources to manage the landscape sustainably and reduce deforestation. This means putting essential services such as fertilizer, tree seedlings, equipment and irrigation, into the hands of farmers.
The overall poverty rate in the region has been put at as high as 84 percent, and farming is a vital lifeline for residents. However, an increased number of drought, flash floods and temperature extremes, in no small part due to climate change, have put this lifeline under severe pressure.
Ina Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia commented on the project:
“The aim is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases through the sustainable management of land traditionally devoted to community-led agricultural and non-agricultural activities in Eastern Province”
The World Bank estimates that almost 215,000 people are due to participate in the project which will provide better access to markets and more capacity to manage their own future.
The Bank’s Coordinator for Climate Smart Agriculture, Ademola Braimoh, further explains:
“This will improve rural livelihoods in Eastern Province by helping farmers increase their income through better farming and forest-based activities. The project will also support improved land use planning and help rural communities to reduce deforestation and improve the benefits they receive from forestry, agriculture, and wildlife”.
The project is being run by the government, which has its own dedicated ministry to tackle climate change issues. Financial assistance and on-the-ground support is also being provided by the International Development Association, BioCarbon Fund and Global Environment Facility.
Aid & International Development Forum is hosting its inaugural Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Summit on 15-16th May 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The summit will discuss innovations and challenges in CSA practices, increasing cross industry collaboration for CSA, financial investment for CSA and much more.
Image Credit: Annie Spratt