A new program will help Zambian smallholder farmers increase their productivity and improve their livelihoods. The Zambia Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (ZAMSAP), a collaborative established by DuPont Pioneer and Musika, a Zambian non-profit, brings together local, on-farm demonstrations, and access to hybrid seed and markets, helping farmers in remote areas of the country improve their productivity and livelihood.
“DuPont Pioneer is committed to collaborating to address the challenges which substantially impact the productivity of smallholder farmers in Zambia,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, regional director Africa for DuPont Pioneer. “ZAMSAP will address these challenges by giving farmers access to training, resources, technology and to markets, enabling them to boost their yields to improve their livelihoods.”
ZAMSAP is modeled on the successful Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP) launched by Pioneer in Ethiopia in 2013.
Musika is providing financial and technical support towards the establishment of ‘last mile’ buying points in isolated areas, training and deploying a well-equipped and trained extension staff.
“By supporting DuPont Pioneer to provide a comprehensive and information-based ‘bundled’ service to smallholder farmers, Musika believes that an environment is created where farmers have the confidence and knowledge to invest in their production and improve their incomes,” said Musika Managing Director, Reuben Banda. “Farmers will get access to productivity enhancing technologies, coupled with practical technical advice in the correct usage of the seed and associated inputs, leading to higher yields and contributing to poverty reduction.”
Pioneer is working with the government of Zambia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Gender and Child Development and Musika to support women and youth farming communities. ZAMSAP will provide seed to demonstration plots and field training sessions in the Chembe, Mpika, Chinsali, Luwingu, Mungwi, Solwezi, Kasempa, Mufumbwe and Kabompo districts where market access is poor and extension services are limited.
The program aims to reach 30,000 farmers in 2016, with the potential to scale up to reach approximately 100,000 maize farmers by 2018. Since January 2016, 274 demonstration plots have been planted through a pilot initiative involving 206 women groups, 57 youth groups, and 11 schools across the 10 districts in the North Western, Northern, Muchinga and Luapula Provinces.
Minister of Gender and Child Development in Zambia, Professor Nkandu Luo, gave remarks at the ZAMSAP launch today.
Maize is a staple crop and a significant contributor to Zambia’s economic and social development, providing jobs, income and food. The country currently has an average maize yield of about 2.4 metric tons per hectare, which is slightly above the average 2 tons per hectare of maize yields in Africa; in the US the average is 10 tons per hectare. By adopting hybrid seed and using improved farming inputs and techniques, participating farmers will be able to achieve significant productivity gains and increase their yields two-fold or more.