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CIMMYT Director General reaffirms commitment to Zambia

Visit to Southern Africa AID-I Rapid Delivery Hub partners and intervention sites highlights strong partnerships bringing sustainable innovations to Zambia.

Honoring a legacy of innovative development in Zambia and looking forward to meeting the nation’s goals for food security, Bram Govaerts, director general of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), along with CGIAR Board Chair Lindiwe Sibanda, visited facilities and met with southern Africa collaborators of the Southern Africa AID-I Rapid Delivery Hub on June 2 and 3, 2023.

Bram Govaerts visited field experiments with the head of science at Zamseed (Photo: Katebe Mapipo/CIMMYT)

“CIMMYT’s work in Zambia and the region is geared to help national governments build resilience to climate change, diversify maize-based farming systems and improve productivity and production to address reduce hunger and poverty,” said Govaerts.
Southern Africa AID-I Rapid Delivery Hub aims to provide critical support to over 3 million farming households in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia via targeted interventions for demand driven seed scaling, improved soil health and fertilizer use efficiency, and rapid delivery of critical agricultural advisory services deep into rural communities.

CIMMYT research and innovation supports Zambia’s medium-term goal of “Socio-Economic Transformation for Improved Livelihoods” and its 2030 Vision of becoming “A Prosperous Middle-Income Nation by 2030.”

Govaerts and Sibanda toured Afriseed’s factory in Lusaka and its wheat field trials in Ngwerere. They also attended a field demonstration of Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags in the nearby district of Chongwe organized by the Catholic Relief Services, a local partner promoting low-cost post-harvest technologies for small-scale farmers in Zambia.
The delegation visited private partner Zamseed, a company commercializing and releasing CIMMYT-bred, Fall Armyworm tolerant maize seeds.

Southern Africa AID-I Rapid Delivery Hub has enabled the release of nearly 10,000 metric tons of certified maize and legume seed, which have been harvested by Zambian seed companies and community-based seed organizations, directly benefiting a million semi-subsistence farmers.

Govaerts also hailed Zambia’s commitment to creating a transparent seed system. “Thanks to this conducive policy environment, Zambia is a major hub in sub-Saharan Africa for hybrid maize seed production and export in Africa.”

Kevin Kabunda opened a partner meeting in which Bram Govaerts met AID-I farmers and partners from seed companies, educational institutions, CGIAR centers, and micro-finance and tech companies. (Photo: Katebe Mapipo/CIMMYT)

Besides Southern Africa AID-I Rapid Delivery Hub, CIMMYT and the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute have been collaborating for over two decades along with public and private partners in Zambia through different investments designed to create sustainable interventions that strengthen food systems and directly reach small-scale farmers.