Zambian voices at the 18th session of the conference of the parties to the UNFCCC

woman in field

Many farmers in the Western Province of Zambia are feeling the effects of climate change on their agricultural production. Kabu Kaitwa, a small scale farmer in Kalabo village, explains how changes in rainfall are affecting his crops, “the rains are very late this year and we are confused when to plant our crops….previously at this time millet would be germinating and now there is nothing. Our crops are also suffering from pest infestation, including stalk borers that are killing our maize.”

Mr Kaitwa is not alone. He is one of  1.2 m of small-scale farmers in Zambia whose livelihood depends on the rain. Agriculture, which is predominantly rain-fed, is particularly vulnerable to climate variability. The effects of climate change are manifested in long periods of drought and little rainfall. The onset of the rains is often late and they finish early; this coupled with high intensity storms flooding the land means farmers are having to adapt in order maintain their food security. One such coping strategy that Mr Malemo Mutemwa is using is to diversify crops away from the maize to wheat. He explained how maize survives on residue moisture in the soil and is of a short maturing variety that is drought resistant. Wheat also fetches five times the price of maize at the local market in Kalabo.

Highlights

  • One such coping strategy that Mr Malemo Mutemwa is using is to diversify crops away from the maize to wheat
  • Zambia expects the world to come up with a new agreement or protocol that will be legally-binding

Through support from UNDP-Global Environmental Facility , Mr Mutemwa and  other 4,000 small scale  farmers in eight sites in Zambia are improving their knowledge on how to adapt to climate change and ensure food security. Methods such as conservation farming, small scale irrigation canals and multi-cropping, and knowing which soils support which crops have been introduced to withstand the effects of climate change and variability in Zambia’s agro-ecological zone I.