£6m committed to support ‘climate-smart’ farming in Zambia and reduce deforestation.

The United Kingdom has committed £6 million to support the training of Zambian farmers in “climate-smart agriculture” to combat deforestation, the Government announced. This funding aims to enhance Zambia’s efforts in preventing rapid agricultural expansion into forests and woodlands, ultimately helping to preserve nature and reduce emissions from deforestation that contribute to climate change.

Announced on International Day of Forests, the money will be used to train farmers in practices such as crop rotation, crop diversification, and efficient irrigation techniques. This initiative is designed to discourage the clearing of forests for agricultural purposes, improve food security, and mitigate climate change effects. Additionally, the funding will facilitate the planting of trees alongside crops through agroforestry practices, which can shield food plants from rising temperatures, provide wood resources, and sequester carbon.

The investment will support the training of 100,000 smallholder farmers in climate-smart techniques at 200 new “farmer field schools,” aiming to reduce poverty and enhance resilience to climate change. Furthermore, farmers will have access to digital technologies, including a new app offering climate updates to assist them in managing changing weather patterns and identifying optimal planting and harvesting times.

This funding is part of the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, a global program that backs projects focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable land use and forest conservation. Officials highlighted that this new funding supplements the over £115 million already allocated to the program since 2013, aligning with the UK’s commitment to safeguarding nature, combating climate change, and advancing the goals outlined in the Cop26 agreement to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho emphasized the importance of protecting nature to combat climate change and affirmed the UK’s dedication to supporting nations like Zambia. The funded initiatives have the potential to reduce Zambia’s emissions by approximately three million tonnes, according to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. These efforts will build upon Zambia’s existing work in climate-smart agriculture, which includes managing 190,000 hectares using sustainable practices, establishing 478 new farmer field schools, training 115,000 farmers, and distributing five million seedlings for agroforestry.

Chief Nyamphande of Nyamphande Chiefdom in Lusangazi District, Eastern Zambia, praised the program, stating that it has enabled his community to diversify into new farming areas like beekeeping and fish farming, reducing their reliance on crops impacted by droughts and other climate change-related challenges. He expressed gratitude for the additional funding from the UK, underscoring the importance of sustaining the progress made in adapting to climate-sensitive agricultural practices in the region.

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