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High-Profile Delegation Visits AFAP-Zambia’s Trade Boost Projects

19 Mar 2024

The Trade Boost team, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and representatives from Congress USAID Washington DC, recently embarked on a project tour vising AFAP in Zambia. Among the key delegates were Ann Vaughan, the deputy assistant administrator of USAID’s Resilience Environment and Food Security Bureau; Robert Bertram, the chief scientist of the same bureau; Maany Peyvan; Michael Camilleri, the senior advisor to the USAID administrator; Jerry Glover, the deputy director of the bureau’s Center for Agriculture; and so on. Furthermore, there were representatives from ATS, Corteva, Bayer, Afriseed, Synergy Seed, and Seedco, as well as CIMMYT, reflecting a diverse stakeholder engagement project.

During the tour, delegates familiarized themselves with AFAP’s Fertilizer Transport Cost Rebate Project and other Trade Boost initiatives in Zambia. The main objective was to provide visiting delegates with an understanding of the implementation of identified projects and their impact on smallholder farmers in Zambia.

The USAID team interacted with Luanshya Agro, a participating agro-dealer in Copperbelt province, where they examined registers detailing farmers who have benefitted from the fertilizer rebate. The delegation also visited Luanshya Agro’s warehouse, witnessing the remaining fertilizer unsold due to market challenges. Lastly, they also visited farmer fields in Mpongwe and Masaiti to observe AFAP’s training activities and interact with beneficiary farmers. The field visit provided insights into the practical implementation and impact of AFAP’s interventions on the ground.

Gene Phiri, Zambia Country Director, AFAP, highlighted the impact of the recent drought on farmers and emphasized the importance of diversification which created challenges for agro-dealers due to reduced sales caused by delayed rains and dry spells during peak fertilizer sales periods. Gene also assured the delegates and the participating agro-dealers that AFAP would facilitate the sale of this surplus using their Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) model, ensuring farmers access fertilizer at subsidized rates.

The Fertilizer Transport Cost Rebate Project, a flagship intervention of AFAP in Zambia, is focused on training farmers in various agricultural practices such as Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), Climate Smart Agriculture, Soil health, and post-harvest grain management. A key component of this project involves subsidizing fertilizer costs for targeted smallholder farmers through selected agro-dealers. Implemented across five provinces in Zambia (Lusaka, Copperbelt, Central, Southern, and Eastern) the project has already trained and sensitized over 13,500 farmers. Additionally, the project aims to sell 5,000 metric tons of fertilizer at a rebated price through a network of 20 participating agro-dealers.