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Sustainable Agriculture for Improved Food Security

Improving Livelihoods and food security among Rights Holders through Sustainable Agriculture

Photo of Maimbolwa Muliwana
3 5

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Go Ye Therefore (GYT)

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Southern Province

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

REASON FOR SELECTION (a) It has more abundant land for agriculture. The centre of the province, the southern plateau, has the largest area of commercial farmland of any province in the country, and produces most of the maize crop. (b) It has more access to water than other provinces because it has most rivers or water bodies. The following are examples among many smaller rivers and streams: • The mighty Zambezi river is the province’s southern border. • Lake Kariba (formed by Kariba Dam) lies along the province’s south-eastern edge. • Kafue river is on the north-eastern border • The Kafue flats lie mostly within the province on the province’s northern border. (c) Farming culture among the people. Agriculture is the primary economic activity with a mix of small holder and commercial maize farms. WHY PLACE IMPORTANT The province with Eastern province have been the two primary breadbaskets of Zambia. This led to Zambia being a net exporter of maize to food insecure neighboring countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe. It has been affected by less or erratic rainfall pattern in the last 5 to 10 years. It has high potential to enhance the food supply to the country and others in the region. This potential should not be left to waste or untapped due to the recent climatic challenges. HOW CONNECTED It is one of our focus provinces in our thematic areas of Education and Community Empowerment. Our office is located in Livingstone town in Southern Province.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

THE PEOPLE More than 12% of the country’s population is in Southern province. The total population of the province is about 2 million people. The Tonga people are the largest ethnic group (Tonga, Toka leya, Lenje). Culturally, the people in the province are a farming community and are involved in livestock rearing. There are more than 250 000 farming households and about 336 557 small scale farmers in the whole province (Information source: Government of Zambia, Provincial Administration). The population in targeted areas has more youths and women. The majority of the people, especially the youths, have no jobs, have no capacity to earn a living. Many youths start participating in illicit behaviors, alcohol & drug abuse, including prostitution, increasing promiscuity and the rate of HIV causing increased poverty. The poor state of the labor market also puts a strain on the scarce and limited education system in the area. Most youths complete primary or secondary school education cannot afford to proceed in furthering in education. Lacking a job often means lacking self-empowerment (e.g. education, livelihoods), social contact, a purpose for many hours of the day, lack of self-esteem, mental stress and illness and of course the ability to pay for basic necessities of life. This is even more serious for the youth with family obligations. On the other hand women are among vulnerable people due to cultural limitations and lack of self-esteem and limited empowerment programs. The elderly people are also vulnerable and food insecure because they are constrained with labour to effectively produce food crops for their consumption. A few of them are helped by their relatives and children. The disabled face a lot of food problems because they are constrained by labour or physical strength. Similarly, many orphans face the food security challenge due to their vulnerability and only a few manage to inherit property from their parents. In most areas women invariably pointed out their concerns about household chores which are highly stressful and affected their farm output due to insufficient physical labour; lack of inputs and high burden of taking care of other vulnerable family members such as the elderly; disabled, the orphans and People Living with HIV/AIDS. The chronically-ill are also food insecure due to their inability to produce food for themselves. HIV/AIDS pandemic was said to be behind most chronically ill persons. THE PLACE It is one of the ten provinces of Zambia and has the largest area for agricultural purposes. It has a total surface area of about 85 823 km2. Agriculture is the primary economic activity. Maize is the main staple food of the province and is about 65 – 80% of crops produced annually on average. 20 – 35% of the total are cotton, tobacco, sunflower, sweet potato, groundnuts, cowpea, etc. The prices of crops like millet, sorghum and cassava remain low.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

In the province, there is rampant food insecurity, such that over 80% of the households cannot afford two meals a day. There are structural barriers that have prevented agriculture from fully providing sustainable livelihood e.g. market access, high transportation costs (especially dairy farmers), over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture (inadequate irrigation support), inadequate storage facilities, poor extension services and deforestation. The root causes of food insecurity in the project areas include: poverty, environmental degradation, barriers to trade, insufficient agricultural development, low levels of education, social and gender inequality, poor health status, cultural insensitivity, natural disasters, access to fertilizer and seed inputs, infertile and highly leached soils and poor farming practices, and inadequate water supplies. Other causes include certain groups of people who are more vulnerable to food insecurity such as marginal populations (e.g., unemployed people, and orphans); dependent populations (e.g., elderly people, children under five, and disabled and ill people); The main problem in the province is food insecurity which is not new and has resulted in nutritional deficiencies. Food insecurity could be both an outcome and a cause of poor health or another factor (such as poverty) could be a cause of both. THE CHALLENGES – CURRENT (2020) (a) Poor and erratic rainfall patterns Past prolonged droughts during rainy seasons reduced crop production (especially cereals) and hence affecting negatively the economies of the farming communities. This has dis-empowered them financially and increased poverty levels in the province. (b) Poor access to resources and markets The reduced usage of fertilizer to high prices and untimely access to fertilizer & quality seeds, lack of credit and the inefficient input delivery system have all affected the crop production in the province. The withdrawal of subsidized credit for crops (maize) in 1992 worsened the situation. • Isolation and poor road networks This is a challenge leading to reduced access to farm inputs, markets and health services. The long distances to and from markets and the poor road networks in various areas has made it uneconomical for both farmers and traders to move beyond certain distances. (c) Loss of cattle (Livestock) Cultivation is done by animal driven ploughs and also hand-hoes. The loss of cattle owing to corridor disease has reduced size of fields being cultivated and hence reduced annual yields. Cattle are economic assets of the people. THE CHALLENGES – FUTURE (2050) (a) Poor and erratic rainfall patterns This is likely to be a challenge in 2050 unless there is effective forestry management, forestry restoration program through tree planting and reduction of sole dependence on forests for provision of wood for energy for cooking and heating by the communities in the province.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The solution shall focus mainly on resolving the food security challenge according to the following food security needs categories: (a) Availability – resources/ inputs, markets, water, crop diversification (b) Accessibility – to markets, to credit, to support systems, storage facilities (c) Utilization – Value addition, water, organic fertilizer, storage, food nutrition knowledge (d) Stability – Access to services (social/ health), water, crop diversification Project Objectives a) Established and / or improved Community Farming Groups. • Facilitating establishment & improvement of Small Community Farming groups/cooperatives • Training in conservation/organic agriculture, produce diversification , entrepreneurship and business establishment • Establishing incubation hubs • Establish village vegetable and fruit gardens • Conduct basic on-farm organic farming training • Conduct training on organic pest and disease management and establish demonstration plots b) Community Farming Groups have improved access to water, markets, resources (e.g. financial), land, and social/health services. MARKET • Facilitating Market research (analysis) and assessments • Information generation and dissemination • Facilitating linkages with private sector actors • Training on marketing • Conduct campaigns on food utilization and nutrition awareness • Establish Farmers Markets LAND/ FINANCE • Facilitating establishment of save and loan groups for improved access to financial services at village level • Training in management of savings & loan groups • Engaging traditional leadership for rights holders land ownership for agricultural purposes • Monitoring of loans & savings groups performance and documenting information c) Community Farming Groups have increase in profits through value chain development • Conducting value chain mapping and analysis • Training on value addition/ value adding and quality control • Facilitating engagement and dialogue among rights holders in a value chain • Facilitating linkages with existing institution focused on innovations for value addition e.g. Universities/colleges • Establish village agro-processing and storage centre d) Community awareness raised and advocating for sustainable farming methods, reforestation (e.g. through tree planting) and usage of clean energy for heating and cooking • Production of IEC materials, video recording and telling stories through pictures • Conducting radio & TV programs The Action’s target groups are farming households, small scale farmers, Community Agriculture workers (CAWs), Village Development Committees, Local Government Authorities, Government departments and NGOs within the province. The targeted areas will be areas that are very remote, neglected, high illiteracy levels and areas where there are poor agricultural practices giving poor yearly yields in the province.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The project shall focus on sustainable agriculture through organic methods and formulation of small community farming groups that shall be trained in sustainable organic farming, village banking, financial management, marketing, value chain addition methods and management of their groups to continuous and sustainable growth. Various vegetables and crops shall be targeted, and some of these are carrots, butternuts, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, pepper, green beans, and rape. Each of the farming groups shall be encouraged after training to select a minimum of three of the targeted vegetables/ crops to encourage crop diversification for assured market, and also for crop soil management (e.g. through crop rotation). The project shall help these groups acquire land through local leadership for sustainability and growth of their businesses. Goal: improved Livelihoods and food security among farming households and small scale farmers through Sustainable Agriculture Project Objectives a) Established and / or improved Community Farming Groups. b) Community Farming Groups have improved access to water, markets, resources (e.g. financial), land, and social/health services. c) Community Farming Groups have increase in profits through value chain development d) Community awareness raised and advocating for sustainable farming methods, reforestation (e.g. through tree planting) and usage of clean energy for heating and cooking

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

FULL (FUTURE) VISION We envision a Zambia where societies are empowered to take charge of their lives socially and economically through improved food security, enhanced and affordable agriculture production, and well developed market linkages for produce. The purpose of the vision is to ensure that all key food future stakeholders like the Duty bearers, development actors, suppliers, consumers and rights holders take up their respective roles and responsibilities in the food future system of the country. Our work shall be guided by our PEOPLE VALUES (PARTH – Partnership/ Networking, Accountability, Respect for all, Team-work & Honesty) and also by our WORK VALUES (VEE – Value for resources, Efficiency and Effectiveness). We believe in JUSTICE and we describe JUSTICE as fairness, impartiality and fair dealing in all our work, decisions and interactions.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email


Join the conversation:

Photo of Aphrodite Oti

Great project!

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Maimbolwa Muliwana  welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
It is inspiring to see you develop a food Vision focusing on food access and security.
Since the Vision is about imagining the future, what would Zambia look like in 2050?
How might your work today look like in 2050 if you were to upset the current trends and build a new trajectory for the future that inspires others around you to collaborate? To help you speculate what your future Vision could look like, you can find some guiding principles on Future Casting and inspiration in the Vision Prize Toolkit in Chapter 3 under Tools of Transformation.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.

Photo of Maimbolwa Muliwana

Hi, Itika Gupta, thank you so much for your vital comment. We shall go back and read the toolkit to really learn how to cast an appropriate vision. Already from your comment and your two vision casting questions I have noticed something. Thank you!