Sharing of Agricultural Policy Researched Message to Ultimate Beneficiaries Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

By IAPRI Staff

The Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has continued to implement the grassroots program which commenced in 2019. As such 2021 marks the third year of implementation of the grassroots program. The thrust of this program involves working with other development partners in efforts to reaching out to the ultimate beneficiaries of agricultural policies with policy research messages. One such partner, IAPRI has continued to work with even in 2021 is World Vision International – Zambia. World Vision International – Zambia works with community members on various aspects. One of these aspects is to train and build capacity of the members in order to develop skill sets that enable them to effectively and efficiently engage government (policy makers) to improve service delivery. The methodology that is used is called Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) as illustrated in figure 1 below.

Fig 1: Elaboration of how CVA works

Source: WVI, 2013

The goal of Citizen Voice and Action is to improve the accessibility and quality of public services through a collaborative, non-confrontational dialogue between service users, government and providers. Ultimate beneficiaries are empowered with skills that help them monitor and seek accountability for service delivery and take collective responsibility for services. This methodology has worked very well in the education and health sectors where the communities using the standards set by government eg a teacher – pupil or health personnel – community member ratios. Communities have advocated to have more teachers and health personnel to be employed and government had responded to those demand by some communities among others.

Using the same methodology IAPRI and WVI- Zambia wants to build capacity among farming communities on the factual analysis of agricultural policies government has developed in order for them to appreciate what government had indicated in policy documents and also use the same analysis their households’ benefits. Furthermore, IAPRI will continue to disseminate and dialogue other agricultural researched messages with the ultimate beneficiaries with the aim of uplifting the welfare of the ultimate beneficiaries.

During the week 11-15th January, 2021, World Vision International – Zambia, Chongwe District office organized a CVA meeting for community members of Chongwe East catchment area and invited IAPRI to highlight to disseminate and dialogue with the ultimate beneficiaries. IAPRI was represented by the Grassroots Coordinator, Mr Stephen Kabwe. Since the workshop was held in midst of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak only 30 participants were invited and all were required to put on face mask. Of these participants, 13 were ladies and 17 were men.

Figure 2: The Grassroots Coordinator Mr. Stephen Kabwe presenting at the World Vision International, Citizen and Action Group Workshop held on 13th January, 2021 in Chongwe.

In the presentation about agricultural policies, Stephen, started by first highlighting the Zambia’s Vision 2030. The vision aspires to get the country to a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030. To attain this vision several indicators, need to be achieved. These include; an average growth rate of between 6-10%, reduced poverty rate to less than 20%, reduced income inequalities among Zambian among others. Since setting the Zambia’s Vision 2030, the country has had developed and implemented several national development plans. These help the country to focus resources on set targets in order to help the country go towards that vision. The latest National Development Plan is the Seventh National Development Plan that runs from 2016 to 2021. The theme of SNDP 2016-2020 is “Accelerating development efforts towards the vision 2030 without leaving any one behind”.

Stephen went on to highlight the various sectors of the economy and how each sector develops its own policies in order to contribute to realization of national development plan targets which later could contribute to realization of the vision 2030. He then focused in presenting the highlights of the revised 2016 – 2020 National Agricultural Policy of Zambia which had the goal “To attain sustainable agricultural production which will enhance competitiveness, profitability, food and nutrition security and contribute to employment and income generation, national economic development and contribute to poverty reduction by 2020”. The NAP has 12 objectives that respond to some key challenges the agricultural sector faces. They included; to increase agricultural production and productivity, increase investment in research and development, to strengthen agricultural extension service delivery, to mainstream environment and climate change among others.

In the second presentation, Mr Kabwe tied the presentation to one of the NAP objectives that talked about climate change. The presentation was entitled; “The Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Productivity of Smallholder Farmers in Zambia”. It highlighted the impact climate change had on agriculture and how that if not mitigated or farmers not adapted, can affect the food security of the country. Specifically, Stephen highlighted that the yields of maize, groundnuts, vegetables were likely to reduce by 9%, 6.5%, and 6% respectively due to the effect of climate change by 2050. He further highlighted that climate change would have an effect on livestock and poultry where productivity of cattle and chicken was likely to marginally decline by 2050. However, he indicated that goats and pigs would be less affected by climate change. He also highlighted that the effect of climate change would be more on the southern region of Zambia than the northern region. Overall, the Mr Kabwe indicated that climate change would have a negative effect on the asset stock accumulation and returns on assets. He concluded by indicating the need for farmers to mitigate against climate change and adapt to the changing climatic conditions for them to build resilience.

During the discussion time, it came out evident that indeed the ultimate beneficiaries of agricultural policies and the Zambia’s Vision 2030 at large, required capacity building on various policies that were likely to affect their livelihoods in order for them to effectively engage policy makes and make meaningfully contribution in the policy formulation and implementation. They appreciated the presentations as they highlighted the linkage of Vision, 2030, National Development Plans and National Agricultural Policy and the vexing issue of climate change.

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