Leveraging Zambia’s Agro-industry Potential in Rural Areas through Enhanced Soya Bean Production and Processing
The project contributes to poverty reduction and food security in rural Zambia. It helps the rural farmers to increase their productivity, capacity and income through diversification of the existing cropping system with soya bean cultivation and improvement of the value-chain system. In this project, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the Ministry of Agriculture of Zambia, provides necessary technical support and supervision to Muchinga Agricultural Development Company (MADECO ), a start-up, to establish self-sustaining, improved soya bean production practices and an improved soya bean value-chain system by supporting farmers to produce soya beans and establishing a soya bean processing plant.
Ministry of Agriculture, Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme, Muchinga Agricultural Development Company Limited (MADECO Ltd.), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Zambia
May 2018–October 2022
Mostly contributing to
Out of the 858 farmers (40 per cent female) supported for soya bean farming, all of whom signed contracts for the supply of soya beans, 741 farmers (86.4 per cent) increased their incomes from the sale of excess produce during the 2020/2021 farming season and successfully serviced their loans. This brings the project total to 1,850 farmers (93 per cent of the target) having profitable market-oriented agriculture.
• In an effort to increase soya bean productivity from the current 2 tons per hectare to at least 3 tons, the Project Management Unit (PMU) was provided with training in yield increase and climate-adapted farming methods.
• 34 lead farmers and 9 camp extension officers rolled out the training in improving soya bean production and productivity practices to support the farmers.
• A pull-type combine harvester was procured and delivered to the MADECO farm to increase efficiency in crop harvesting, threshing and winnowing. Two tractors at the farm were serviced in readiness for the 2021/2022 farming season.
• 71 hectares of the 100 hectares of land earlier cleared and cultivated were used for crop production. Maize and sunflowers were introduced for crop rotation, which is a recommended practice in agriculture.
The “lead farmer” concept, originally introduced in the 2019/2020 farming season, has been successful in motivating farmers to cultivate soya beans by applying improved agricultural techniques. Lead farmers assist with the project field activities.
Farmer selection, with the help of traditional authority, helps to reduce cases of delinquency since the selected farmers can easily be censured. A total of 117 loan defaulters (13.6 per cent) were served with demand letters to ensure that farmers not only move away from the mindset of thinking that the loans are just government handouts but also move to 100 per cent loan repayment.
Close monitoring of farmers’ fields by PMU, extension officers and lead farmers during all stages of plant growth, at least three times from land preparation and planting to harvesting, supported farmers in practising advice given during training and the provision of extension services. In addition, that helped to identify and deal with pests and fungus attacks in a timely manner, ensuring increased soya bean production.
Paying farmers on time during crop recovery exercises reduces cases of side selling and hoarding to wait for an increase in prices due to demand.
The soya bean processing plant, once fully operational, will provide a ready market for soya bean producers, including those not in the farmer support programme.
The project implementing partner, MADECO will collaborate with the Government and potential partners to continue providing support to the farmers to motivate and facilitate soya bean production.
The MADECO Farm which had a good season (2020/2021), will contribute to soya bean feedstock for the processing plant as well as act as a centre of excellence for learning purposes for both farmers and students at the local agricultural training college.
Income from the MADECO farm and soya bean processing plant will help to continue the farmer support programme.