IDACA NEWS

NO.101

July 15, 2014

Toward the New Fiscal Year

THE EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

REPORTS ON TRAINING COURSES

  1. FY2013 ASEAN Training Course on Capacity Building
  2. FY2013 JICA Training Course on “Planning of Agricultural Policy”
  3. FY2013 ICA/Japan Training Course on “Revitalization of Local Communities by Rural Women”

REPORTS ON
ON-SITE SURVEYS

  1. Participation in Circuit Seminars in Russia
  2. Current Situation of Zambia and Vitalization of Farmers’ Organizations

REPORTS ON VISITORS TO IDACA

Editor’s Note

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REPORTS ON ON-SITE SURVEYS

(2) Current Situation of Zambia and Vitalization of Farmers’ Organizations

Yukio Abe
Cooperative Development Consultant, IDACA

At the request of Kazuko Yamamoto, president of Japan Agro-Marketing Institute, who is also a regular lecturer at IDACA, I visited Zambia from December 11 to December 19, 2013 as part of the “Agriculture and Farmers’ Organization Revitalization Support Project in Africa” to perform project evaluation.

Zambia is located in the southern region of Africa adjacent to the following eight countries: Zimbabwe, Congo, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia, and Angola. It has an area that is twice that of Japan, a population of 13.47 million, and a very high rate of population growth at 4.2%. I believe that what we generally associate with Zambia are the Victoria Falls, one of the three greatest waterfalls in the world, and copper production.

In fact, copper is still its primary product for export; it is even being used for making Japanese 10-yen coins. Although Zambia’s economy has been sluggish for a long time due to decline in international prices of copper, it appeared to be in good condition recently as a result of increased production of copper due to promotion of investment from overseas and the rise in international prices of copper.

Consequently, European- and US-funded shopping centers and fast food establishments such as KFC have opened in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. In addition, I noticed traffic congestion occurring in the morning and evening, indicating progress in market economy. However, once I moved away from the capital city, I noticed drastic changes in the landscape: the presence of vast farmland in the absence of mountainous regions. Nevertheless, arable land is not used effectively. I noticed many unused plots of land. Wealthy neighboring countries such as South Africa have invested in agriculture in Zambia, and production of maize (corn) for export is conducted under large-scale management. Introduction of machinery in farm-ing by ordinary farmers has not progressed, and except for the Tonga tribe that practices traditional cattle plowing, farmers plow their land manually, relying on rainwater, and many of them have been placed in poverty. Still, perhaps because there is no fear of hunger, as Zambia is blessed with a good climate and fertile land, the farmers appeared to be content with the status quo. On the other hand, elite bureaucrats of Lusaka, including the former participants of IDACA training courses, stood handsomely, wearing neckties and carrying themselves around in a dignified manner. I felt an indescribable sense of emptiness in this great gap. I felt that perhaps a system that should be described as the remnants of a legacy of the former colonial powers is reflected in the disparity between the elite and the poor. In this sense, I have growing expectations that this project will contribute to “poverty alleviation and improvement of living standards” of the farmers through “support for high-yielding maize production that does not rely on subsidies.”