Conservation Farming Training Program – Field Trip to Kafue

b2ap3_thumbnail_P1060005---Version-2In early February, ten participants from BCP’s Conservation Farming Training Program (CFTP) were given the opportunity to go on a “field trip” to Kafue town, where they were able to view large-scale conservation farming demonstration plots and to meet experienced Lead Farmers who have been trained and supported by the Zambian Conservation Faming Unit (CFU).

The purpose of this field trip was to inspire the participating farmers to continue to play active roles in BCP’s CFTP, and to encourage them to become leaders in the program as it expands to include new communities in the upcoming year. BCP’s CFTP is designed to improve agricultural yields and incomes for rural producers, with the aim of the reducing pressures that farmers currently face to clear new areas of forest for larger fields, or to engage charcoal production to generate additional income. BCP’s CFTP is also intended to increase resiliency among rural farmers.

Visiting the demonstration plots in February, just after the peak of the rainy season, the participating farmers were able to view the experienced conservation farmers’ yields at their most impressive—tall stalks of maize and full-leafed soya plants towered above conventionally tilled crops grown by non-participating farmers. The farmers were able to spend an entire morning listening to advice and asking questions from the experienced conservation farmers, who told their guests all about the events that led them to become dedicated conservation farmers. One man explained that in his first year of using conservation farming techniques, his yield increased by 42% (from 48 bags to 68 bags of maize)—this provided his family with food security for the first time he could remember, plus, it allowed him to sell maize and even to purchase livestock for his farm!

Participants from BCP’s CFTP listened attentively to the Lead Farmers and saw with their own eyes the impressive impact that minimal tillage conservation farming practices, can have on normal crop yields.  As they returned to their rural community of Mweenshan’gombe, the farmers talked excitedly about their plans to continue and lead the CFTP in the upcoming year.

BCP’s Conservation Farming Training Program has been made possible through a partnership with the Zambian Conservation Farming Unit (CFU), which has generously provided ongoing support, training and guidance to our team.

BioCarbon Partners qualifies for Planet Action support

The BioCarbon Partners Trust is excited to announce that we have recently received support from Planet Action for the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP). The support comes in the form of 3 x SPOT high resolution visible and infrared satellite images (2 archived and 1 new collect). Planet Action supports projects working on climate causes, impacts, and solutions by providing satellite imagery free of charge to non-profits, NGOs, environmental scientists and local communities in support of climate change studies. The imagery will be used to support project activities undertaken by the BioCarbon Partners Trust in partnership with local communities which seek to reduce deforestation and land use change by creating sustainable alternative incomes for agents of deforestation. In addition to supporting community project activities, the imagery will be used to update the LZRP GIS database (unmapped infrastructure). Specific products produced will include:

  • Updated forest / non-forest map
  • Updated land cover map
  • Quantify forest biomass and carbon stocks
  • Undertake change detection activities (2006-2010-2013)
Land-use change taking place within the project zone for the LZRP; households clear areas of new forest for charcoal production and agriculture.

Land-use change taking place within the project zone for the LZRP; households clear areas of new forest for charcoal production and agriculture.

Participants in BCP's Conservation Farming Training Program, which is designed to reduce the pressure that households face to expand their fields for agricultural production.

Participants in BCP’s Conservation Farming Training Program, which is designed to reduce the pressure that households face to expand their fields for agricultural production.

BioCarbon partners are looking forward to working with Planet Action and expect the imagery to make a big impact on project activities. For more information on the grant and the intended uses please contact wes@biocarbonpartners.com.

Written by Wesley Roberts, BCP GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist.

To learn more about the work that Planet Action does, please visit their website: www.planet-action.org

 

CSEF Grant to BCP Trust to Develop Sustainable Community-Based Eco-charcoal

The Civil Society Environment Fund (CSEF) in Zambia recently awarded approximately $10,000 to support the development of the Ndubulula Eco-Charcoal Association’s sustainable charcoal production project.  The funds will be used to support an Eco-charcoal Officer and forest guard, a motorbike, fuel, efficient kiln infrastructure, safety equipment, institutional development support to the Association, and support to the Forestry Department to pilot an eco-charcoal certification scheme.

The community has set aside 93 hectares of degraded community forest for the project.  The Ndubulula Eco-Charcoal Association (NEA) comprises 16 members, including 8 women.  The NEA has taken over sustainable management of this forest including monitoring, patrolling, early burning, replanting of hardwoods, and excluding livestock.  The BCP Trust is providing technical support through a GIS-based production plan following the Forestry Department’s proven ‘coup and shelterbelt’ system.  Eco-charcoal will be produced from a portion of about 5-6 hectares of charcoal in 2013 using higher efficiency charcoal kilns.  NEA and the BCP Trust ensure that this harvested area is strictly managed to encourage regeneration, and limit fires and livestock impacts.  The project aims to increase household level income, and to produce more charcoal from the same trees, while improving the condition of this forest – through sustainable management.  Pressure on existing forests will be reduced, as the project has absorbed existing unsustainable charcoal producers into the project.

The BCP Trust is grateful for CSEF’s support.  The support is catalytic towards developing this community-based deforestation mitigation project as a potential replicable model that could be scaled up at a national level.  This project is one of 15 community-based deforestation mitigation projects that the BCP Trust and partner communities are developing together to enhance livelihoods and reduce deforestation through the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project.

The Civil Society Environment Fund is an initiative of the Embassy of Finland in Zambia and the Royal Danish Embassy in Zambia.

Shadreck Mtonga, BCP Trust Eco-Charcoal Project Officer and Eleanor Harvie, CSEF Officer, with the signed CSEF grant agreement

Shadreck Mtonga, BCP Trust Eco-Charcoal Project Officer and Eleanor Harvie, CSEF Officer, with the signed CSEF grant agreement