Emerging Farmers Partnership GDA

This article was originally published by USAID.

Zambia’s development holds much promise but faces much peril. Urban economic growth has boomed, however rural areas have stagnated in poverty. Most rural households are engaged in subsistence-level farming on small plots that are not economically viable and often turn to unsustainable livelihoods that degrade natural resources to supplement their incomes. 

Although the agriculture sector in Zambia employs close to 66 percent of the total labor force, it contributes only five percent of gross domestic product (GDP), an indication of poor productivity. The Emerging Farmers Partnership aims to transform the agricultural sector and support increased productivity, incomes, and sustainable farming practices for 10,000 emerging Zambian farmers.

  • Life of Project: October 2020 - October 2023
  • Geographic Focus: Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, North Western, and Southern Provinces
  • Chief of Party:  TBD
  • Partner: Global Communities Sub-Partners: Coreva Agriscience and John Deere
  • Total USAID Funding: $3 million
  • USAID Contact: Harry Ngoma - hngoma@usaid.gov

Maize is the major staple food crop for Zambian households yet its productivity has been chronically low. This is due to the limited adoption of improved technologies and practices, and vulnerability from reliance on rainfall, which has become more variable due to climate change. 

In recent years, the invasion of the Fall armyworm has also threatened food security throughout the region. In addition, traditional practices of preparing the land, weeding, and harvesting require significant manual labor, much of which is provided solely by women. All these challenges result in food insecurity that is primarily affecting rural households.

USAID, John Deere, Corteva Agriscience, and Global Communities have come together to carry out a market-based approach to facilitate the Emerging Farmers Partnership (EFP) project. EFP will catalyze greater productivity of emerging farmers working with 20-60 hectares of land, support their communities, and contribute to building a resilient global food system in Central Province (Mumbwa, Chibombo, Kapiri and Luano), Southern Province (Chikankata, Mazabuka, Monze, Kalomo and Choma), Copperbelt Province (Mpongwe, Lufwanyama and Masaiti), Eastern Province (Petauke), and North-Western Province ( Solwezi and Kasempa). 

Youth and women will represent 30 percent of the project’s key beneficiaries, and will be empowered with educational resources, technologies, and access to capital.  

While EFP focuses on emerging farmers, it will also contribute to the reduction of rural poverty among smallholder farmers. The emerging farmers will improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in their communities by demonstrating improved practices, aggregating offtake, providing tillage and other services, and facilitating input credit. 

Expected Results

EFP private sector partners expect to provide $2.2 million in input finance and $35 million in equipment financing to emerging farmers. Approximately 1,000 emerging farmers will receive financing to invest in productive assets, including warehouses, tractors, irrigation and other equipment. An additional 8,000 emerging farmers will receive training support through the partnership.