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Value chain analysis in Southern Africa

A recent four-day workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia 15-18 September addressed poverty reduction through value chain analysis. The 12 national agricultural research program representatives from Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia who attended the workshop learned how maize-based conservation agriculture (CA) can increase productivity and became acquainted with research tools to map key value chain actors and service providers.

The workshop presented integrated soil fertility management technologies (ISFM) and followup activities to improve CA and ISFM. Also covered was how to increase farmers’ access to key input and output markets. In addition, participants heard about current activities of the Soil Fertility Consortium for Southern Africa and visited the Zambian Food Reserve Agency and the National Milling Corporation in Lusaka.

Organized by CIMMYT economist Mulugetta Mekuria and CIMMYT poverty specialist Jon Hellin, the workshop complemented the center’s efforts to develop CA practices for smallholder farmers in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The aim is to improve farmers’ linkages with input suppliers (seed, equipment, knowledge of crop/land management) and their access to markets where they can sell anticipated surpluses resulting from the adoption of CA. The Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) hosted the workshop with financial support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Soil Fertility Consortium for Southern Africa Challenge Program (SOFECSA-SSA CP) project.