Zambia farmers to benefit from sustainable livestock management practices project

Launching the Hooves for Sustainability (H4S) project

Educating farmers on rotational grazing boosts livestock productivity by 20% and reduces mortality rates by 30%.

While these findings by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) were predominantly from a study based in Kenya, research across Africa and the world at large raises many advantages to the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing agricultural challenges.

To this end, Solidaridad held a critical stakeholder engagement meeting in Itebe village, Mazabuka District, Zambia. The focus of the meeting was to address pressing challenges faced by livestock farmers, including the lack of sufficient water troughs and the need for a restructured grazing plan to prevent livestock from drowning in the flood plains. This initiative is part of Solidaridad’s broader efforts to foster sustainable agricultural practices in the region.

The meeting saw the participation of individuals, including farmers, partners, and representatives from various government and non-governmental organizations. Attendees included officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock in Mazabuka, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), the District Commissioner’s office, the Crimes and Investigation Unit of Police, Grassroots Trust, World Vision, Self Help Africa Organisation, the Itebe Ward Councilor, and 16 headmen, each accompanied by 2 headers and 20 farmer committee members. 

Challenges and Solutions

“As a child of the African soil whose grandparents were smallholder livestock producers, I can attest to the dire need for inclusivity and raising awareness on the need to bring together all stakeholders to discuss communal grazing challenges. The Southern Province of Zambia hosts the most cattle in the nation. Itebe Village falls within this geographical space and therefore becomes a point of interest for multiple stakeholders, hence the inclusive approach we took in planning the critical stakeholder engagement meeting,” says Sheila Garakara, Country Manager for Zambia at Solidaridad.

Hooves for Sustainability (H4S) project site visit at Itebe, Mazabuka, Zambia. Sheila Garakara, Country Manager for Zambia at Solidaridad (extreme right), Shungu Kanyemba, Managing Director of Solidarid with other particapants

Livestock farming is a significant livelihood for the residents of Itebe village, yet they face numerous challenges. The lack of adequate water troughs forces livestock to rely on natural water sources, which are not always safe or sufficient. Additionally, the existing grazing plan often leads to livestock drowning in the flood plains, causing substantial losses for farmers.

The stakeholder engagement meeting was crucial in bringing together various parties to discuss and devise sustainable solutions. The collaborative efforts included mapping Itebe’s grazing areas and restructuring them into three distinct zones to facilitate efficient rotational grazing while avoiding flood-prone areas. This restructured grazing plan aims to enhance the sustainability of livestock farming in the region.

“This stakeholder engagement meeting is a testament to our commitment to fostering sustainable agricultural practices. By working together with local farmers, government officials, and partner organizations, we can develop and implement solutions that address the unique challenges faced by livestock farmers in Itebe village,” says Garakara. 

Stakeholder engagement meetings to address the challenges faced by livestock farmers

To this end, Solidaridad launched a project called “Hooves for Sustainability (H4S).” Funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, H4S aims to enhance 2,000 livestock producers’ resilience against the effects of climate change. To achieve this objective, H4S promotes and implements sustainable livestock management practices in the Mazabuka, Monze and Namwala districts – all of which reside in the Southern Province of Zambia.

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