In Zambia’s Simalaha Community Conservancy, farmers have gone from surviving to thriving as they can now harvest a variety of healthy-looking crops grown year-round thanks to environmentally friendly agriculture techniques. In one of Simalaha’s villages, Peace Parks Foundation’s Chief Development Officer, Lilian Spijkerman, is accompanying a group from the Dutch non-profit organisation, DOB Ecology, to learn more about how conservation agriculture farming techniques are helping the local farmers in the area.

While taking a walk through some of the farmers’ fields, the team can see what conservation agriculture entails and how these methods help to alleviate pressure on the land and surrounding natural resources. Conservation agriculture is a sustainable approach to farming that aims to protect soil from erosion and degradation while regenerating previously disturbed land. The three main principles of this practice are minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of permanent soil cover, which can be seen in the video above and crop rotations.

Throughout many parts of Africa, farmers use traditional farming techniques which strip the soil of nutrients and result in poor growing conditions. As a result, many farmers’ crops would fail, forcing the community to turn to natural resources for sustenance. To mitigate this, Peace Parks Foundation is training local farmers in conservation agriculture, installing human-powered treadle pumps to help irrigate crops as well as digging wells which provide the community with a water supply that can sustain them long into the dry season. This all contributes toward year-long food security and balanced nutrition.

With support from Peace Parks Foundation and partners, local farmers can produce crops such as tomatoes, onions, maize and beans all year round, enabling them to put food on the table and sell any excess in the local markets. Not only does it provide food security and create livelihood opportunities, but conservation agriculture methods reduce pressure on the natural environment allowing for nature and humankind to thrive alongside each other.