At the recent Western Province Agriculture and Commercial Show in Zambia, the Simalaha team pulled out all the stops to make sure that the community development work being done in their conservancy is well-represented.

The theme for this year’s expo was “Innovation through Technology” and the sub-theme “Technology transforms Business,” Peace Parks Foundation’s Simalaha Community Development Manager, Kabika Kumoyo walks us through the stand which showcased the large variety of ongoing projects in Simalaha.

Showgoers are first met with the innovative human-powered treadle pump, which has been a revelation for farmers in Simalaha, saving them and their families from having to carry heavy buckets of water to irrigate their crops. Capable of lifting water from a maximum depth of seven metres, this basic but life-changing piece of technology allows for farmers to utilise nearby water sources, such as pans and wells, saving themselves time and more labour-intensive work.

The treadle pumps are just one aspect that is helping the people of Simalaha shift from surviving to thriving. Alongside implementing conservation agriculture techniques, Groasis WaterBoxxes has also helped the community to enhance their food security and provide sustenance, contributing to a more balanced diet. The biodegradable boxes are perfect for drought-prone areas like Simalaha, with a 90% tree survival rate all the while promoting afforestation.

Moving inside the stand, Kabika shows us a demo of a plant clinic. Working with ZARI, the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute and representatives from CABI, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, these clinics are set up in different communities where farmers can bring in a sample of their sick crops. Plant doctors will then advise on possible solutions and treatments that will treat the crop and improve the harvest.

Excitingly, beehives have also been distributed throughout the conservancy and trained beehive farmers are producing the liquid gold to sell at markets, alongside a colourful looking array of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The biggest of the exhibits include a temporary cattle boma, which is part of the Herding 4 Health project which has already made a significant impact within southern Africa. These predator-proof bomas can house up to 600 cattle and are placed in degraded areas so that the dung and urine of the snoozing, ruminating cattle can fertilise the land and help it recover.

After reviewing all the exhibitions, the judges awarded the Simalaha team first prize for their community development exhibit. They will now go through to the National Expo taking place in September this year. Peace Parks wishes them all the best and look forward to many more years of working together to improve the livelihoods of communities here.