African Parks is implementing the “JumpStart” Game Changer project in order to boost alternative livelihoods and economic sustenance to communities living in and around Liuwa Plain National Park of Kalabo district.
Presenting a report during Lewanika Community Resource Board (CRB) third quarter meeting held in Kalabo Council Chamber, Project Manager Bryson Sompa said African Parks has mobilized funding for key interventions such as aquaculture, beekeeping, conservation farming and a piggery, among other sustainable development projects.
Mr Sompa, who is also the Social Ecologist for Liuwa, said his organisation has secured 2.65 hectares of land in Mulinga area for integrated Tilapia fish production.
“The aquaculture project is a joint venture between African Parks and the CRB, where the profit is shared equally, with the CRB’s allocation being used for various community projects across the Park’s 10 Village Action Groups” he said.
Mr Sompa further said that under the guidance of an apiculture consultant, 300 top bar hives are being distributed to four village-based honey production units in Mutaa, Liuwa, Kuuli and Mishulundu areas.
He added that bee clubs have since been formed with 90 community members who have undergone beekeeping training.
“The farmer will harvest the honey and pack it in 30 litre plastic containers. It will then be locally processed, packaged and sold,” he said.
The Social Ecologist said the intervention seeks to provide an alternative livelihood which aims to address food insecurity, health issues and provide climate change resilience.
Mr Sompa said African Parks has secured land in Suunga area of Liuwa where a pig breeding facility will be established and will allow the Community Resource Board to generate income for community projects.
He said this project has the potential to be very successful.
Additionally, Mr Sompa said African Parks has embarked on a three year agricultural improvement intervention which has been developed based on extensive stakeholder consultation.
He said the intervention, being implemented under Total Land Care (TLC), aims to champion climate change resilience and adaptation through improved agriculture
He said the project has just seen its first year, and has been successful in distributing high yielding, early maturing, nutrient dense and drought tolerant crop varieties which are in high demand in Zambia and regional markets.
Mr Sompa named the crops as Mweru cassava, Kilombero rice, orange flesh sweet potatoes, orange maize and sugar beans.
He said the crops were distributed to 16 Field Farmer Schools in Mulinga, Sishekanu, Lwamutu, Mishulundu and Kuuli.
He said solar and treadle pumps have also been distributed to beneficiaries for irrigation, allowing them to continue farming into winter.
Mr Sompa further said African Parks has installed 238 rocket stoves against a target of 1,000 units earmarked for this year.
He said the rocket stoves will allow efficient cooking with a 60-65 percent energy saving.
Mr Sompa explained that all the interventions under the “JumpStart” Game Changer project are intended to ensure long term sustainability of Liuwa Plain National Park through land use planning and coordinated socio-economic development.
He added that the interventions seek ways to alleviate pressure on natural resources in and around the Park, improve community livelihoods and food security as well as find mechanisms to build strong relationships between communities, tripartite partners and other key stakeholders.