Groups of small-scale farmers in Lufwanyama have applauded Kagem Mining for the provision of fertiliser to aid production for the 2023/24 farming season.
The farmers – Twasanta Women, Tweende, Blessings/Chantete and Kapila Green Farmers expressed appreciation in a letter to Kagem for the timely annual provision of fertiliser for the 2023/2024 planting season.
The mine supports eight farming cooperatives comprising a total of 194 members, provides inputs, training and a ready market for the local communities’ produce, which is bought for use at Kagem’s canteen.
“As community co-operatives, we thank you for your timely annual support. Your support has helped us to alleviate poverty in our village communities and it has boosted us to increase our food security and livelihood to all chiefdoms. Your support has also contributed in fighting against malnutrition in most of the community households,” the farmers told Kagem.
Food security and nutrition remain priorities for countries worldwide, and the government has called for collaborative efforts within the region to combat food insecurity.
In Lufwanyama, farming cooperatives supported by Kagem have taken up this task to both support their members’ families and to grow the collective farming strength in the district.
The benefits of farming are numerous, as it addresses the challenges of low incomes at household level, unemployment, illegal mining, and poverty. Timely delivery of inputs and planting are key factors in ensuring good yields.
“The farmers grow a variety of horticultural crops and maize and in some cases rear village chickens – considered a delicacy to the more urban population. Kagem is just one of the many entities that buys from the cooperatives,” noted Kagem’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Lomthunzi Mbewe.
The total number of cooperatives supported by Kagem since 2016 has grown from five to seven, with 194 registered members. The farming associations that are currently operating are: Blessings, Kafwaya, Kapila Green Farms, Matafwali, Tweende, Twasanta cooperatives, as well as the newer Lumpuma Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society (LMPCS).
“The composition of cooperatives varies from community to community, and we see capacity building as one of the key tools in ensuring the sustainability and growth of Lufwanyama’s cooperatives and farming communities,” said Adriaan Prinsloo, Kagem’s General Manager.
Kagem, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, has conducted training in farming methods, livestock management, and other technical skills and competencies. Members of the cooperatives glean vital knowledge from the agriculture extension officers on best practice, which they share with their colleagues. In addition, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has offered veterinary services including vaccinations and routine monitoring.
Kagem also plans to support organic farming as a more sustainable agricultural practice given that some farmers in the cooperatives are already implementing practices of this nature, such as crop rotation and using organic waste fertilisers as an environmentally-friendly alternative.
Kagem sees the farming cooperatives as one key element in creating sustainable and alternative livelihoods for communities in Lufwanyama, with the mine having spent ZMW 5.4 million in supporting the cooperatives to date.