By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
MORE than 100,000 cooperative farmers will be empowered in 2022/23 agriculture season following a partnership between the National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU) and Good Nature Agro (GNA).
The partnership intends to empower rural Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) members that are primarily dependent on agricultural activities for their earnings to aid savings and investments.
NASCU Chief Executive Officer, Febian Mubuyaeta, said most rural households in Zambia depended mainly on maize grain and meal as their source of food and disposable income.
“Good Nature Agro is excited to combine our ‘full-farm support’ model with NASCU’s incredible cooperative network, as we work together to move farmers from poverty into the middle class,” Good Nature Source programme manager Susan Ng’ombe said.
And GNA Chief Executive Officer, Carl Jensen, said they were excited to combine efforts with NASCU to ensure farmers in communities throughout the country have access to quality inputs, training, and markets that can help them accomplish their goals.
The demand for these crops was proving to provide an ever-increasing net profit for farmers, in some instances by more than three times that of maize yield per hectare.
It stated that the partnership with a seed company would see 1,000 farmers in Mumbwa district, who are members of Cooperatives, engage in the farming of beans.
They would acquire input support to a tune of three hectares per farmer for the 2021/2022 farming season under phase one.
It indicated that this would extend to target 100,000 Cooperative farmers in 2022/2023 farming season, which would also include groundnuts and soya beans.
It was estimated that 20 direct jobs would be created in the first phase. In the second phase over 2,000 jobs would be realised, primarily in the field as Private Extension Agents under Good Nature’s innovative extension program.
An additional 300,000 seasonal jobs for farm hands would be created, where three are employed for every farmer on the program in the 2022/2023 season.
This was an off-taker programme where a farmer would not have to look for market to sell their produce, but all the yield would be bought by the project, thereby reducing stress for every farmer.
Indicated that the programme’s target would be extended to reach a million cooperative farmers at the end of five years, where it would financially include three million Zambians and create more jobs in a sector that was self-sustaining under this empowering model.
Further benefits would be reaching the country’s coffers through the increase of registered taxpayers, who would meet their turnover tax obligations within an officially structured platform under NASCU.