Empowering farmers in western Zambia

Empowering farmers in western Zambia

“This area is doing fine,” says Biemba Mukanjo, one of the farmers in Mawawa, Zambia. Mawawa, a part of the provincial capital of Mongu, is known for its vast vegetable gardens. It is the main supplier of vegetables to the town.

One of Concern's charity projects in Zambia involves working with the Mongu District Farmers Association (MDFA) to help small-scale farmers improve their production of food. 

The area farmers’ association in Mawawa belongs to the MDFA. It has 80 members; 47 men and 33 women. They grow an abundance of rape, cabbages, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green paper, Irish potatoes, egg plants and paprika. 

Farming in Zambia

Mawawa is largely a wetland with several canals. Effective use of land is something the farmers of Mawawa know well. In one year, they grow maize, vegetables and rice. They use treadle pumps to water their gardens. “The Mawawa farmers’ association has been receiving support from Concern which includes agriculture inputs such as seed and fertiliser, technical support through training and tools for clearing their canals,” says Concern’s Albert Mate.

A life spent farming

Some of the farmers have been growing vegetables since childhood. “I started when I was in grade three (aged 10). That time we would wake up early in the morning to take the vegetables to Mongu, which is our main market,” recalls Hastings Nasilele, another farmer.

At 30, Hastings still grows vegetables, but has added rice and maize and owns other farm assets. He now intends to buy a water pump to make his irrigation of vegetables much easier.

“Last year I harvested 85 bags of rice but this year I unfortunately dropped due to floods. I have one lima of vegetables and in terms of rice, I go up to two hectares,” he says. “The trainings that we have received from Concern and Mongu District Farmers Association have improved my farm management.”