Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 10:40 am
By Carl Wahl, Concern Worldwide Conservation Agriculture Coordinator, Zambia
Matumbo Yembe, 44, like so many Zambians, lives off the radar.
Handicapped from polio as a child, Matumbo Yembe lived alone without any support from aid programs until she was introduced to conservation agriculture. Today, she is growing her own food and slowly inching her way out of poverty.
Her right leg withered and weak, Matumbo was tragically crippled as a child from polio and moves around with the help of a stick. She has scratched out a living doing whatever piecemeal work she could to get by. Because she lives alone and has little or no social connections, Matumbo, never benefited from any aid programs—that is until she was introduced to conservation agriculture.
Over the past few years, I have witnessed a transformation. With support from Concern Worldwide, Matumbo is now growing her own food and slowly inching her way out of poverty. What impresses me about her is that so many people in her position—alone, disabled, and poor—would lose all hope and fade away. But Matumbo, as my old football coach used to say, has “no quit in her.” Every time I visit her, there is not a single weed to be seen and the crops are perfect. She is nothing short of remarkable, and I continue to be amazed by how the techniques that we call “conservation agriculture” can be such a catalyst for people to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 8:23 am
By Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide
The three-day United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which started in Rio de Janeiro today (Wednesday, June 20) presents world leaders with an excellent opportunity to adopt a new approach to climate change that reflects the priorities of the developing world. Called Rio+20, it marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development attended by 179 countries which put sustainable development on the global agenda.
The Sahel region of Africa is currently facing a food security crisis that threatens more than 18 million people
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the poorest countries where Concern works, the strains caused by climate change are increasingly evident. Erratic seasons, rising droughts and floods, uncertain planting dates, and shorter growing periods for essential staples are all having an impact. For the world’s poor, who overwhelmingly depend on rain-fed agriculture for their survival, the changing patterns of climate, land availability, and food production have caused chaos.
In the Sahel region of Africa, where a current food security crisis threatens more than 18 million people, rainfall has decreased by 25 percent in the last 30 years wreaking havoc on farming communities. Other factors like deforestation, overgrazing, continuous cropping, desertification, and poor water management have also contributed to a deteriorating environment.
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Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Concern promotes the growing of vegetables such as cabbage. Above, a farmer, Mufungulwa Kalunga, explains his success story to fellow farmers during a field day in Mongu. Photo: Zambia, Concern Worldwide
By Rakesh Katal, Concern Worldwide Country Director, Zambia
Zambia’s economy continues to show encouraging growth, which now stands at seven percent. And in the past year, Zambia’s agricultural sector produced a record food surplus, with a grain harvest of 2.8 million tons that literally overwhelmed storage capacity. This surplus was underpinned by subsidies for small-scale farmers, generous minimum price guarantees offered by the Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency and good rainfall in previous years. Nonetheless, the very poorest and most vulnerable families are still struggling to survive.
The terrain in remote areas of Zambia is rough; to reach communities you must cross rivers, wetlands and vast swathes of sandy territory. Concern is the only development organization working in some of these remote areas, such as districts in the Western Province. Read the rest of this entry »