FARMING FOR NUTRITION PROJECT SET TO IMPROVE DIETS IN NW
FQM conservation farming team expands farmer training to ensure improved nutrition
SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – Good nutrition has become the latest focus of the farmer training initiatives championed by First Quantum Minerals in North-Western Province. Through its Kansanshi Foundation conservation farming team, the mining firm has been training local farmers in best agricultural practices to achieve food security and alleviating poverty in rural communities around its mines.
FQM believes that improving nutrition should be at the centre of all agricultural programmes and policies, along with promoting modern and green farming techniques. Hence the company has embarked on an intensive nutrition training initiative to ensure that famers are not only cultivating cash crops but are also growing nutritious vegetables to help promote healthy diets. “We recently started looking at how we can use our Conservation Farming project to enhance food security while improving nutrition in communities. A healthy diet should comprise a lot of natural foods such as fruits and vegetables,” said FQM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Bruce Lewis.
“Integrated farming is key to improving agriculture’s impact on poverty reduction and ending malnutrition in rural communities. This project was designed to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 2, which seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition as well as promote sustainable agriculture,” he explained. Through its Kansanshi Foundation, the mining company has provided training and technical support to about 40,000 farmers while over 7,000 farmers benefitted from the early agricultural input delivery programme. Most recently, farmers received irrigation equipment to help with growing crops during the dry winter months.
Interventions such as these have resulted in project participants growing their yield from an average of six 50kg bags a lima using conventional techniques in 2010, to 56 bags a lima – with an average of 21 bags in the 2018/2019 farming season. In the 2020/21 season Kansanshi conservation farmers grew 9,000 tonnes (180,000 bags) of maize