The Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has earmarked to plant 100 million Gliricidia Sepium trees in four provinces of Zambia in the 2022/2023 planting season.
COMACO has invested US$200,000 in producing Gliricidia Sepium seedlings and supporting the campaign for the planting of 100 million trees in the regions where COMACO is sponsoring farmers.
ZANIS reports that COMACO Eastern Province Extension Manager, Kenneth Linyunga, disclosed in Chipata hat the gliricidia sepium tree is an important and very fast growing agro-forestry specie which fixes nitrogen and restores other nutrients in the soil thereby replacing the use of chemical fertilisers in crop agriculture.
Mr Linyunga said COMACO supported farmers will plant 50.5 million gliricidia sepium trees in Eastern, 30 million in Muchinga and 20 million seedlings in Mumbwa and Itezhi Tezhi districts in Central and Southern provinces respectively.
He said at least 120,000 out of the more than 230,000 farmers, who belong to COMACO through various cooperatives, will access the Gliricidia trees and plant them in their various fields in the 2022/2023 tree planting season.
“Since the trees grow very fast, the farmers can benefit within a very short period of two year and they can start using the fertilizer from the leaves. These are natural fertilisers and are better as compared to relying on the synthetic or the chemical fertilisers that other farmers are using,” he explained.
Mr Linyunga said resorting to using natural fertilizers from the Gliricidia Sepium trees is a cost-saving measure which will make small-scale farmers increase their maize and cash crop production in the near future.
The nurseries for the 100 million Gliricidia Sepium seedlings were planted around October and November in 2022.
He has since urged cooperatives affiliated to COMACO and the farmers to work together and plant the 100 million Gliricidia Trees this year.
“What will happen is that in the next few years, all these farmers will have soils that are fertile enough and they will manage to harvest crops equivalent to those farmers that are using chemical fertilisers, they will save money as they will not have to buy expensive fertilisers,” he said.
COMACO has used Gliricidia Sepium tree for the past one decade among its farmers in the country and has proven its usefulness in the farming and conservation efforts.
And Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni people in Chipata district has said his chiefdom was working towards implementing organic farming and promoting reforestation in order to fight the effects of climate change.
Chief Madzimawe said the negative changes in the weather patterns call for the change of mindset and tuning people’s behaviour towards reversing climate change effects in the country.
He said his subjects were already implementing forest and wildlife conservation with a view to reclaim the old type of rainfall patterns which were predictable and reliable.
The traditional leader told ZANIS that a palace committee on environmental protection has since been formed to look after all natural resources in the Madzimawe chiefdom.
Meanwhile, in an effort to promote wildlife protection and conservation, COMACO has over the years persuaded more than 2,100 poachers to surrender their firearms and engage in conservation farming.
Two of the former poachers, Patrick Nkhata and Standwell Chirwa who are both based in Lumezi district in Eastern Province, praised COMACO for empowering them with skills such as beekeeping and equipping them with necessary inputs for organic farming.
COMACO is a social enterprise that supports wildlife conservation and small-scale farmers in the country.