Zambian conservation farming model wins World Bank kudos

The World Bank has lauded a conservation farming model for rural, small-scale farmers being implemented by the Community Markets for Conservation Farming (COMACO).

Conservation farming is recommended as a practice for sustainable crop production that simultaneously preserves soil and water resources. Given the positive effect on the environment and economic viability, it is promoted worldwide as environmentally friendly agriculture technology.

“We are impressed with what COMACO is doing in conservation farming, creating a sustainable economy that works for small-scale farmers,” said Makhtar Diop, vice president for Africa.

COMACO, a non-profit company operating in Zambia, adds value to the products smallholder farmers supply. Finished products include stock feed, peanut butter and soya flour.

The company is also funded by the World Bank.

During a visit with Finance Minister Felix Mutati to COMACO projects in Eastern Province, Diop said the Washington-based bank will continue to support similar projects which achieve a balance between increasing incomes and conserving the environment.

In the spirit of conservation, COMACO also links rural smallholder farmers with urban consumers through a value chain of environmentally smart products that drive solutions for land management, food security, and improved rural incomes.

“We are ready to scale up the COMACO model to increase agricultural productivity on a sustainable level,” Diop said.

COMACO chief executive officer Dale Lewis said rural farmers are under pressure to put market demands ahead of environmental needs.

He said the model adopted by COMACO proved successful in improving the livelihoods of rural farmers and protecting the environment.

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