How is the development of integrated agriculture in Zambia doing?

The team from the CZU, namely Vladimír Verner, Radim Kotrba, Zbyněk Polesný, Jan Staš from FTZ and Miloslav Petrtýl from FAPPZ, is currently conducting fieldwork in the Western Province of Zambia. The activities are realized in the frame of implementation of two development projects, namely "Integrated Farming II" led by Mendel University in Brno and "Agribussines4LIFE “ led by Charita Czech Republic.

During the fieldwork, follow-up theoretical and practical trainings were organized in all project locations with focus on sustainable and integrated agricultural production, the use of local crop landraces, neglected and underutilized plant species, duck and guinea fowl breeding, aquaculture production, farmers' market access and farm development.

During the practical parts of the trainings, farmers learned the ways of controlling the quality of water in the fishponds, the use of biowaste to fertilize the pond, how to produce feed or how to properly feed and monitor the growth of the fish and the cases when to consider polyculture (multi-species fish stock). Another goal was the integration of fish farming with duck farming, which will ensure the supply of nutrients for the development of plankton and use of plant biomass and aquatic invertebrates in the vicinity of ponds for their nutrition. After the theoretical part, a model poultry-house for ducks was built at the dike of one of the ponds. That will serve as an inspiration to other farmers. Another approach is the integration of speckled guinea fowl in poultry farming and their integration into the system of maintaining agricultural fields, where the fields are cleaned of weed species and sown before sowing/planting.

Regarding the plant production, the spectrum of the cultivated varieties of selected crops was documented and a survey of naturally growing useful plants used as fodder or for veterinary purposes was performed.

Some farmers have been supported by small grants for the development of their farms. The purpose of the trip was to discuss the experience with the funds spent and to find suitable recommendations for a similar type of support in the target area. Furthermore, contacts of suitable suppliers of farm inputs and sales opportunities for agricultural production were collected.

During the training, our team enganged in extensive discussions with the target farmers in order to identify existing and looming problems, which will help us to guide further course of the project implementation based on the recommendations of our experts.

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