Zambia’s agriculture possesses the ideal makings of a strong farming community. They have arable land, water and abundant human resources. Small-scale farmers are instrumental in food production countrywide and contribute significantly to the national food basket. Ultimately, these agricultural workers help their country’s poor.

To aid small-holder farmers in gaining access to high-quality, disease-free seeds, Syngenta and USAID’s Feed the Future Program invests as much as $1.8 million to provide seedling production sites. These sites will be in 20 districts across Zambia.

Each of the above-mentioned sites will be owned and operated by one Entrepreneurial Young Plant Riser (YPR), who will provide business and technical training, as well as facilitate market linkages. This will benefit 12,000 smallholder farmers and give them access to seedling production sites.

These sites will primarily use cabbage and tomato seedlings, which allows the smallholder farmers in Zambia to potentially become commercially viable vegetable farmers. They will use the classes they receive from YPR at the seedling production sites to learn how to utilize their farm space and marketing linkages to succeed with what they have.

Zambia has a major problem with low levels of investment, lack of access to affordable credit and limited access to modern technology that helps with marketing trends. There exists a high number of small-holder farmers who store their money in their homes instead of investing in further land or more seeds. The investment of seedling production sites will not only help them gain marketing and fiscal knowledge, it will also help boost the country’s economy. This investment will then come to help the population as a whole.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr