The World Bank has helped to uplift Zambian farmers and improve the quality of their lives. This forms part of their involvement in the country to advance production and reduce poverty.
“Investing in agribusiness and developing markets is the key to improving agricultural productivity and reducing poverty in the country,” the World Bank stated.
According to World Bank reports, the country still relies heavily on mining for export revenue. The challenge is to diversify into other sectors which would enable a more equitable distribution of growth and wealth across various sectors.
Since more than 90% of rural Zambians depend on agriculture for a living, agriculture has been identified by the World Bank as an important developmental landscape, along with the Health and Energy sectors.
Financial growth in agriculture
According to the World Bank report, its involvement in a number of projects has benefited more than 120 000 smallholders, through increased commercialisation, productivity, quality and value chain addition. The projects have improved market access for farmers and made possible the necessary upgrades to 1 131km of rural roads.
The results have shown a dramatic increase in household income for smallholder farmers. In Choma (Southern Province) farmers were able to increase their income by 378%; in Katete (Eastern Province) by 336%, and in Chapata (Eastern Province) household income increased by an astonishing 609% between 2006 and 2014.
Over 200 000 smallholder farmers in six provinces have been assisted, through the Animal Health Services Matching Grants programme, since 2012.
The Matching Grants programme made it possible for the Choma Dairy Association to purchase milk processing equipment. With the addition of processing plant, Choma was able to produce yoghurt and improve its margins.
The World Bank also helped with control of outbreaks of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in 11 districts, which it is hoped will be increased to 14 districts.