Musika has trained staff from the ministry of agriculture, from the Zambian National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), and from several agricultural dealers, in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). The Southern Province and the Eastern Region were the first to receive this boost to the farming sector.
CSA has been rolled out by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) as part of a strategy to sustain food security despite the pressures of climate change.
Training focuses on changes in the agricultural landscape, benefits for agri-dealers using climate smart practices, pesticides, herbicides and post-harvest technology in an altered environment, and a basic understanding of CSA, and weather index insurance.
The thrust of the CSA drive is partly directed at agri-businesses, in partnership with the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), using the CSA initiative to bring down costs through an e-voucher programme.
The ZNFU said in its newsletter, Friday Brief, that the training aimed “to build climate smart knowledge, and the capacity of smallholder farmers participating in the e-voucher initiative, delivered through the network of agri-dealers.” Agricultural businesses and officials would transfer the necessary skills and knowledge to farmers.
Vuna project co-ordinator, Peter Manda, pointed out the important role agri-dealers play in farmer education in the CSA process. Sales people in these businesses are the frontline for information about the use and application of pesticides, and the recommendation of various inputs to the farmers.
CSA training in Zambia has been made possible by a £1,36 million grant from British Department of International Development.