At Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), the sustainable management of natural resources is the bedrock of good stewardship for the environment. KATC’s Sustainable Organic Agriculture (SOA) promotion strategy aims to achieve several objectives – climate change mitigation and adaptation, building climate change resilient agricultural systems, improving food and nutrition security and improving incomes and livelihoods especially among rural small-scale farmers. We do this every day which is why, in Kasisi, every day is Environment Day

Below are some of the activities taking place in June 2019 – Environment month

1.    Rural Women Assembly Tour to KATC

In the second week of June 2019, KATC hosted a guided tour of Sustainable Organic Agriculture (SOA) activities with participants from 12 countries including eSwatini (former) Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The aim of the 3 day workshop was to review current farming systems and propose new methods.

Photo credit: Canadian Jesuits International

2.    KATC hosts Food Forest and Future Farming Initiative team 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture and Dutch based agencies are working on a Food, Forest and Future Farming initiative. The initiative will be piloted in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia with a view to identifying local models for sustainable use of natural resources, which can be scaled up.

3.    Training Front Line Officers

Extension Officers are in the front line when it comes to regular contact with the farmers. KATC plays a part in their training and works with Farm Institutes (where Ministry of Agriculture staff training takes place), Farmer Training Centres (where farmer training takes place) and Colleges of Agriculture (where school leavers are trained). Twenty five more front line officers, from all corners of Zambia, have been earmarked for training in KATC which, to date, has trained one hundred front line officers.

4.    Field visit to SOA demonstration plots

Members of the Zambia Alliance for Agro Biodiversity (ZAAB), on which KATC is one of the founders, visited our SOA demonstration plots. The team also visited Zambia College of Horticulture Training in Lufwanyama District where, despite the poor rains experienced in the 2018/2019 season, the crops had performed relatively better than crops grown under conventional agriculture technologies and practices.  This is a strategic roll-out for SOA.

5.    The first ever Diploma in Agroecology Programme in Zambia

With funding from Bread for the World (BftW), KATC is developing the first ever Diploma in Agroecology Programme in Zambia and probably the region. The initial BftW funding is one year with follow-up funding for three years. This is an exciting development because despite the many years of promoting Sustainable Organic Agriculture in Zambia all training in agriculture, from primary school to tertiary level, has fundamentally remained Conventional Agriculture. In June 2019, KATC has scheduled meetings with relevant stakeholders to build consensus around programme’s content, target audience and mode of delivery.

Photo credit: katczm.org

6.    Sustainable management and small producers.

KATC has been targeting small scale farmers who have little awareness of the untapped power of  consumers. Since 2015 KATC has been developing facilities to process organic products and offer consumers safe, healthy and nutritious food.

KATC is upscaling its production of processed milk products (pasteurized milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream), wheat products (whole grain stone ground wheat flour and three grades of semolina) and oat products (groats and rolled oats).

7.    Traditional Seed and Food: Key to Food Diversity and Sovereignty

KATC has for several years advocated the recognition and integration of local informal seed systems. Local seed systems have an important role to play in conserving time-tested local seeds as well as traditional foods. In many communities, have disappeared from people’s diets greatly eroding food diversity, nutrition and sovereignty.

A Traditional Seed and Food Festival is being organised in which lots of different Traditional seeds and foods will be showcased and sold. It is an effort to reclaim long lost food diversity, identity and sovereignty and the inaugural planning meeting was held on 14th June 2019.

by Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC)

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