The Government of Zambia’s development agenda is articulated in the National Vision 2030, which reflects Zambia’s aspirations to be a prosperous middle-income country by 2030. It highlights agriculture as one of the key sectors in achieving sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty due to rich natural resources, especially arable land. About 70% of the rural population’s livelihoods rely on the sector, and the country has developed sub-sector strategies in crops, extension, irrigation, livestock, fisheries, agricultural marketing, agricultural credit and finance, farm power and mechanization, forestry and cooperatives.
The Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project (APMEP) contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction by enhancing food security, income, and nutrition among participating households. APMEP achieves this objective through the development of irrigation, aquaculture, and livestock production support, through crop diversification and intensification, through value chain development to promote agro-processing, and through agriculture service centers. It supports the establishment of infrastructure to create job opportunities including the construction of three livestock service centers in Chongwe, Chitambo, and Gwemb. The continued establishment of irrigation schemes and construction of agro-market centers, roadside markets, and access roads are expected to create more job opportunities for local communities. APMEP also supports strong nutrition and capacity-building subcomponents that provide a number of sensitization and training sessions as well as deliver improved planting materials and technologies to farmers.
As of December 2020, 71,799 people have benefitted from the project, 32,623.3 hectares have adopted project-promoted technology, 130 water users have new/improved/rehabilitated irrigation and drainage services, and 10 water user associations are operational. Additionally, APMEP has provided 20,079 smallholders with productivity enhancement support, 12,274 individuals with capacity development support, and 22,457 people with improved nutrition services.
Under the aquaculture development component, the project completed assembling cages and pens in 2019. Farmer groups are organized and will receive fish cages and pens. The project procured fingerlings and feed and has supported 57 pond farmers to grow fish in their ponds through technical and extension services. As a result, the farmers have harvested 59.77 metric tons so far, and production is expected to increase significantly as project inputs continue and are complete.
APMEP’s crop diversification and intensification component has benefited 1,038 farmers thus far. To achieve this, the project procured and distributed rice seed and other inputs for the Chitambo clusters and the Luombwa scheme in the 2020–2021 season. The 30-ton capacity cassava milling plant in Chitambo is still under construction and stands at 90 percent completion. Two of the plant’s three lines (flour and stock feed) are ready for testing and the starch line is complete. The project has started setting up a 500-hectare cassava seed multiplication field to support the supply of cassava to the plant and to provide planting materials to cassava outgrowers.
Finally, under the nutrition security component, 22,457 beneficiaries (15,860 women) have benefitted from improved nutrition services, 12 child/infant feeding centers became fully operational in early 2018, the project has recruited and rehabilitated 1,008 children. And, for the past two years, APMEP has been supporting farmers by procuring various inputs, including orange maize seed, iron-rich beans, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, and fertilizers, all to help enhance community members’ nutritional statuses.
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