The government, in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the European Union (EU), has launched Zambia for Agroforestry, Biodiversity and Climate project (Z4ABC).
Speaking during the launch of the project in Lusaka yesterday, Ministry of Green Economic and Environment Permanent Secretary, John Msimuko, said the four-year project which the EU is funding with 4.1 million Euro is aimed at supporting sustainable value chains in the lower Zambezi, Luangwa and Nyika corridor.
Mr. Msimuko explained that the project’s range of value chains and the associated production systems include value chains products produced in climate-smart systems and practices that spare land from further deforestation and forest degradation thus supporting reforestation among others.
He stated that the Z4ABC project is a move that complements the efforts which promote development of climate-relevant, productive and sustainable food systems since rural communities depend on the natural resources as their main source of livelihood.
“During the past decade, droughts and increased floods due to climate change have threatened many livelihoods thereby negatively affecting their food and water security and water quality, therefore this project will assist in improving the livelihood of the rural communities,’’ he said.
And the EU delegation Counsellor, Matthias Reusing, said the EU and its member states will remain committed in uplifting the lives of the Zambian people through deliberate climate-relevant projects that will see Zambia achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to cut down carbon emissions.
Mr Reusing noted that climate-relevant strategies contribute to sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low and middle-income countries.
“Now is the right time to act and put on hold the preparatory works for the mining operations in the national parks as they are a threat to the natural resources,’’ he suggested.
Meanwhile, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Country Coordinator, Maimbo Malesu, noted the need for urgent climate adaptation and mitigation measures that will provide small holder farmers and rural entrepreneurs with an opportunity to secure a livelihood against threats of climate change.
Mr Malesu said engaging rural communities in climate-relevant and sustainable practices is crucial as it will give many households the necessary techniques to survive amidst the harsh impacts of climate change.
‘’Our current efforts must take a multi-sectorial approach to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and food and nutrition security for our local farmers. The responsibility to adapt and mitigate climate lies on all of us,’’ he said.
Speaking at the closure of the same event, Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Green Mbozi, called on all stakeholders to support the objectives of the Z4ABC project which is targeted at contributing to the development of climate-relevant, productive and sustainable transformation of agriculture and forestry.
Mr Mbozi noted that the project will support efforts towards the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for Zambia which are fundamental to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy as enshrined in the 2016 Paris agreement.
“I implore everyone to treat the threat of climate change seriously as it has the potential to negatively affect the main producers of food in our nation, particularly our smallholder farmers,’’ he said.