Youths in Agriculture and Agro Ecology, a Solution to Climate Change in Zambia

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Youths In Agriculture
Youths In Agriculture

Agriculture is important to our economy and its growth, however; global challenges such as climate change pose a serious threat to this industry in particular; as witnessed in the last farming season. This calls for diversity and adaptation in our farming methods to ensure we provide food security for our growing population. A method worth exploring is Agro ecology, it is an eco-friendly farming technique that actually increases yield with good resilience to climate change. 

Unfortunately not much is being done to take full advantage of this method, as little knowledge is known or put to use and there is an inadequate dissemination of this information especially in the rural areas where small scale farmers have no access to the internet and latest information.

In this context, Positive Hearts Foundation Founder and Executive Director, Vanessa Samba said, “We need more exposure to agro ecology and its benefits to the environment and our food basket, I’m calling upon the government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Agriculture and CSOs to merge our efforts in mitigating the effects of climate change through trainings/workshops and making available the resources.”

Ms. Vanessa Samba said, “Honesty, We need to find ways to make organic farming manageable for commercial farmers to control pests on a large scale in order to produce high quality nutritious food that is appealing to the eye and healthy to the gut.” 

Ms. Vanessa Samba said that, as a youth led organization (Positive Hearts Foundation) has a ‘Good Nutrition for All’ project, although currently facing irrigation challenges, a project focuses on providing free seedlings and manure to community gardens in places of need such as health facilities, correctional facilities and schools. 

“The seedlings are accessible to members of the community with special support going to woman headed homes and vulnerable homes to improve access to good nutrition because good nutrition is a possible solution to the many ailments and birth defects we suffer today,” Ms. Vanessa Samba. 

Ms. Vanessa Samba appealed, “Positive Hearts Foundation is welcoming partnerships and collaborations in various causes and humanitarian activities that fall within our strategic objectives.” 

Ms. Vanessa Samba noted that, currently, Zambia has the largest population of young people in its history, people between the age of 15-24 make up 36.7 % and people below the age of 15 and 18 account for 45.5% of our total population, that’s a vibrant and energetic populous we should be putting to use in production.”

“I have discovered and you may agree with me, a white collar job is more appealing and perhaps prestigious while farming is perceived as the “uneducated man’s job” by our young folk and tag farming as an retirement plan for the older citizens, which should not be the case,” Ms. Vanessa Samba observed.

“For youth in agriculture and aspiring agri tycoons such as myself, Maanda Sianga and Gift Mkwashi to mention but a few, our dreams are far-fetched as we lack technical and financial support,” Ms. Vanessa Samba disclosed. 

“We have in place powerful business plans and are currently running start-ups in agriculture and livestock, yet we lack scale up capital, as a matter of fact, we lack adequate start-up capital that would enable us explore modern farming technologies, irrigation equipment and other machinery that could maximize our production and allow us to cultivate a significant piece of Zambia’s 42 million hectares,” Ms. Vanessa Samba said. 

Ms. Vanessa Samba spoke to youths to express their views such as, “Agriculture could be a more lucrative venture and attractive to young people if farming equipment and other supplies were not taxed, because many times the framers cost of production remains high while the value of his produce is easily affected by climate change and unfair market prices, although we are not afraid to take risks as youths, farming with so little to no capital makes is one of the riskiest venture for any young person trying to make it their career or simply earn a living.” 

Youths lack favourable access to funding; financial institutions equally make it difficult for the youths to access loans that they could use to scale up on their investments in agribusiness, not only are the interest rates on loans high, things like security/ collateral and their age, work against them.

“We find it difficult to acquire adequate land, it worries us to see more and more foreign investors flocking to purchase/ lease land in our country when we can’t afford a basic 25 by 25 plot,” Ms. Vanessa Samba explained.

It is obvious that the with holistic empowerment, the young people are able to improve agricultural production and efficiency, focusing on livestock development – poultry, piggery; fish farming and vegetables growing by developing agricultural infrastructure, and the capacity building of potential farmers in order to ensure food and nutrition security, income generation, creation of employment for poverty reduction.

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