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Zambia Cotton Outgrower Development Project

Project Ref Number: 6924-A016

Active period and status: This project was approved 10th June 2016 and has been designed into two phases including Phase 1: Industry Consultation & Grant Application as well as Phase 2: Implementation which is currently underway.

Objectives: The primary objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To improve resilience of smallholder farmers and increase cotton yields through “climate smart” ISFM and IPM practices disseminated by private sector led extension services;
  • To commercialize and disseminate new, short season cotton varieties, suitable for the now frequent occurrence of short growing seasons; and,
  • To ensure increased access to private sector markets to support and sustain smallholder adoption of ISFM & IPM.

The project’s long-term outcome is to enhance adoption of ISFM & IPM technologies among 330,000 farmers, and to deliver short season cotton varieties, directly through cotton companies, suitable for use by smallholder farmers. The implementation of planned interventions under the pilot project is expected to reach more than 21,000 smallholder farmers and produce a number of clearly measurable outputs/results, which include improved availability and accessibility to short season cottonseed varieties and a range of yield enhancing soil fertility and pest management practices.

These results will contribute to (i) increased cotton productivity and production, especially among smallholder farmers, (ii) better incomes as well as improved soil health, and (iii) enhanced smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate variability.

Summary Approach:
This project involves the provision of technical assistance and grants to the Zambian Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) and up to 2 cotton ginners in Zambia. Specifically, the project will undertake two primary activities in parallel:

  • Support ZCGA to expand short season seed breeding efforts underway with the Cotton Development Trust (CDT) and Quton Seeds; and,
  • Promote smallholder farmers’ adoption of short season cotton varieties and Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to improve resilience.

The ZCGA and private sector cotton company, NWK Agri-Services, are the primary implementing partners. This project has the potential to reach more than 20,000 farmers, directly and indirectly across eight private sector companies.

Implementing partners:
The key implementing partners are the Zambian Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) and NWK Agri-Services. The ZCGA has been enlisted to lead in industry wide coordination and supporting the development of new seed varieties, while NWK Agri-Services is implementing the roll-out of CSA technologies to smallholder farmers.

Results / findings to date:
The project has so far recruited a total of 21,700 out-grower smallholder farmers and 700 lead farmers. From this number of recruited farmers, a total of 14,989 have been trained in CSA practices in preparation for the 2017/18 agricultural season with 33% of these farmers being women farmers. A total of 144 mobilisation meetings have been held with smallholder farmers. The grantee has also completed a baseline survey whose results are under review at the moment.