Vice President Inonge Wina has launched the First Sub-Grant Awards under the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project (ZIFLP).
During the launch in Chipata District of Eastern Province yesterday, Mrs. Wina said the grant is yet another milestone in demonstrating the resolve of the government to adhere to the principle of “leaving no one behind” as outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan (7ndp) as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs).
The launch which was held at Msereka Research Institute, where 23 projects received grant cheques.
Mrs Wina was glad that most vulnerable groups particularly the women as well as the youths are among the recipients of the sub-grants awards in the spirit of not leaving anyone behind.
“I would urge the project implementers to ensure people who are differently abled are also targeted so that they too benefit from these grants,” she emphasized.
“To the recipients of the awards, I wish to congratulate you for being beneficiaries of these grants. I wish to emphasize on the need for you to ensure that the funds being given to you under the project are used prudently for the overall goal of supporting your livelihood and ultimately sustaining the landscape you live in,” Mrs Wina stated.
Mrs Wina also disclosed that for the 2020/2021 farming season, the government has prepared 2.5 million agroforestry seedlings for distribution to farmers.
The Vice President stressed that president Edgar Lungu has been emphasizing on to see Zambia transformed for the benefit of all.
She said government has strengthened resource mobilization for the implementation of climate change interventions across the country and that over 1.20 billion United States dollars has been raised over the last eight years.
“ZIFLP is one of the projects arising from this resource mobilization initiative. This project is contributing to improving landscape management and increasing environmental and economic benefits for targeted rural communities in the eastern province,” she pointed.
She explained that through ZIFLP, the government is protecting the environment, especially forests, and supporting sustainable land use management to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“The project is also motivating communities through emissions reduction strategies that offer alternative livelihoods to drive social security for our rural households and at the same time make them resilient,” she said.
“We are all aware, Zambia has not been spared from the adverse impacts of climate change, especially droughts and floods that have aggravated the poverty levels,” she lamented.
She explained that during the 2018/2019 farming season, the country experienced the worst drought in nearly four decades resulting in droughts that caused crop failure, resulting in national and household food insecurity as well as escalation of food prices and curbed hydropower generation, thereby, reducing generation capacity.
She added that government has recognized climate change as a multi-sectoral developmental challenge that should take prominence in all development processes of the country.
“In this regard, we have continued to mainstream climate change in our policies and plans at national, provincial, district and ward levels,” She said.
She stated that mainstreaming of climate change will ensure that the phenomenon takes Centre-stage in all developmental processes and will contribute to changing mindsets as well as building resilience in communities.
The Vice President reiterated that government is promoting Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices such as minimum tillage and residue retention, agroforestry, diversification of crops and crop rotation as well as promotion of drought resistant crops and small ruminants such as goats and sheep.
“It is encouraging that gains are already being achieved as can be demonstrated by some farmers in eastern province under ZIFLP, who are increasing maize yields from an average of 2.2 tonnes per hectare to over 5 tonnes per hectare compared to those not applying conservation farming practices,” she stated.
She added that the government is promoting sustainable forest management by supporting the planting of trees in new areas, reforestation and natural regeneration of degraded forests.
“Furthermore, the government is also improving early warning systems to enhance preparedness for extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. To this end, we have installed over 100 automatic weather stations and over 500 rainfall stations across the country to facilitate timely dissemination of weather information,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Minister, Makebi Zulu said Eastern Province is one of the Country’s biggest agricultural provinces and therefore, it only makes sense for the government to prioritize the construction of the modern infrastructure to support research activities and to be of service to farmers in the province.
“The province produced 600 thousand metric tons of maize during the 2019/2020 farming season accounting for 6 percent of the country’s total production,”Mr Zulu stated.
And Minister of Agriculture Micheal Katambo has praised government for constructing an agriculture research center in the Province.
Mr Katambo said agriculture research is an important part of any value chain in the agriculture sector as the production of seed heavily depends on the outputs from scientists and researchers.
The Zambia integrated Forest Landscape Project (ZIFLP) is a 32.8Miliion United States Dollars government initiative being implemented in all the districts of Eastern Province and supported by the World Bank.
The project has been under implementation from 2018 and will end in 2022.