1. For Sustainable Development


                    The main problems causing low food production in Zambia are: low soil fertility, low use of external inputs (fertilizer and agricultural chemicals), loss of soil organic matter, and soil structural damage due to poor land husbandry practices. Other constraints are natural disasters, (for instance erratic rainfall), limited access to capital, poor information of appropriate technologies and poor marketing arrangements. The problems that affect 90% of small scale farmers have resulted in overall household food insecurity and widespread malnutrition. In trying to solve this problem, there appears to be no other alternative other than promoting sustainable agricultural practices among small scale farmers 




 2. Sustainable Agriculture : A solution




     The graph below shows agricultural production of Zambia. As it shows, production of main products are below the targets.  In village, the situation is worsen. 



Production (kg/ha)
















Sun Flower




Soy beans





         Agriculture is the largest employer in the villages, the major source of food, income and raw materials. Therefore, small scale farmers can not achieve rural development without stabilization of their farm economy through increased agricultural production.

      How do they remove constraints of productivity such as “low soil fertility”, “low use of external inputs” and “effect of natural disasters” from their agricultural enterprises?

      The solution lies in promoting sustainable agricultural practices to overcome the above named constraints farmers are facing.


     Sustainable agricultural practices could be a solution for low agricultural income and food production among small scale farmers.

One of the definitions of sustainable agriculture is as highlighted below.


“Sustainable Agriculture is a package of agricultural practices that meets the present needs of the farm family in terms of food, fuel wood, income, etc. without damaging the resource base thereby compromising the ability of future generation to produce their needs on the same land using the same resource base.”
             (Willem C. Beets, 1990)




    In practice, there are several ways of implementing Sustainable Agriculture.


Major constraints of productivity

How to remove the constraints of productivity?

Low soil fertility


Improve Soil Fertility using organic and non organic materials, and improved cultural practices

  Utilize organic materials such as compost manure and green manure crops

  Practice suitable cultural practices such as crop rotation, improved fallow, tillage and erosion control

  Utilize other materials such as agricultural lime, inoculums and so on

Low use of external inputs

Utilize alternative locally available resources to reduce reliance on commercial agro-inputs

  Utilize manure from Livestock enterprise

  Plant useful agro-forestry trees for fodder and as pesticides (eg. Tephrosia vogelii)

  Utilize Green Manure Crops

  Utilize homemade natural pesticides

  Utilize crop residues for compost manure and as fodder

Effect of natural disasters

Avoid dependence on  rain fed maize based mono culture

  Expand production period by engaging in off season crop production using small scale irrigation

  Engage in diversified agricultural production, by practicing small scale Livestock production, Fish farming, Fruit tree production, etc.

Use improved water harvesting techniques

  Improve soil structure and fertility using  Conservation Farming techniques

Improve Cropping Pattern

  Split cropping period

  Utilize drought tolerant crop varieties







A good combination of agricultural enterprises will result in positive interdependence among the enterprises to the advantage of a farmer. The diagram below illustrates how input cost can be minimized at a farm that practices recycling and diversification.






 4.  “Model of Sustainable Farming System”



The combination of appropriate agricultural practices results in a sustainable farming system that could support rural development.


        In Luwingu and Mporokoso District of Northern Province, on-farm sustainable agricultural practices and integration of farm business enterprises has become a reality among small scale farmers. With the support of the PaViDIA Project, farmers are now engaged in small scale livestock (communal semi intensive goat) rearing, communal integrated fish farming and off-season crop production (green maize production using gravity irrigation in each farmer).

Livestock waste is used in fish ponds and to fertilize maize fields. These activities have enabled farmers to widen their income source and reduce external input cost, resulting in a much more stabilized farm economy.


Sustainable Farming Systems can be realized through an integrated approach where a number of sustainable agricultural practices such as the ones mentioned above are combined.

Our definition therefore of Sustainable Farming System is as outlined below;



“Sustainable Farming System is a combination of practices achieving agricultural productivity in perpetuity maintaining the natural resource base by application of conservation principles.”

     PaViDIA Sustainable Agriculture Team





 5. Dissemination of Sustainable Agriculture through PaViDIA



Sustainable Agriculture practices are realized in PaViDIA Approach, an participatory extension approach through MACO extension officders.

Details of Sustainable Agriculture practices are found in our manual.


Click for Sustainable Agriculture Manual for PaViDIA Approach


inserted by FC2 system