Organic Producers & Processors
Association of Zambia (OPPAZ), the national organic agriculture movement for
Zambia has started Business-Intended Organic Farming and Wellness programme
(BIOF) in collaboration with the private commercial sector and training
institutions. This is a sustainability initiative to obviate the negative
consequences that rocked its’ operations due to dwindling external financing
when Zambia attained status of Low Middle Income Country in 2009.
BIOF has been implemented since 2017 with
little promise of success. In 2018, the private sector supported efforts seem
to have rejuvenated BIOF as a business – configured service-oriented
initiative. The initiative focuses on capacity building for i) increasing
organic productivity and production of family farmers in Zambia, ii) promotion
of healthy living by rousing household food processing and utilisation.
In June last year that OPPAZ realised the
need to actively work with the private sector in making requisite resources for
production to farmers. It forged relationships with a Microbial Fertiliser
company and embarked on collaborative yield demonstration trials to show that
organic farming would outperform conventional farming with respect to
productivity, quality of products, cost of production and net earnings. Trials
of this nature were conducted in many locations for crops like maize,
sunflower, soyabean and wheat. Other crops include rose flowers, avocados,
papayas, mangoes, tomatoes and a range of assorted vegetables.
The preliminary results of the trials show
about 15 % increase in yield over and above the conventional farms. This good
news heightened the spirits of OPPAZ to not only spread the message but to make
this organic input available to all farmers. This led to crafting of BIOF as an
alliance of the private sector operators with family farmers. Sensitization
meetings with some 5,000 family farmers have been conducted with the major
lesson that farmers need to know and understand the production technology. For
this purpose a training programme on organic farming and utilisation of the
whole range of organic foods was crafted in June this year. The first training
seminar lasting three days was fully sponsored by the trainees themselves.
Family Farmers in six villages of Chongwe District have so far being involved
in an exercise which started with capacity assessment for production and supply
of sufficient volumes. The next stage is the provision of actual training on
the group production design over time and space.