Enhancing diversification in resettlement schemes: a case of Kasenga Resettlement Scheme in Chongwe district.
Musama, Duncan Mumba
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This study was undertaken to appreciate the state of agriculture and factors driving crop diversification at resettlement schemes under the Office of the Vice President. The study also provided an opportunity to appreciate the factors that were responsible for hindering crop diversification and consequently allowed for proposals on how to enhance crop diversification at resettlement schemes. A mixed methods design, using a combination of questionnaires administered to 180 settler farmers and in-depth interviews involving 5 experts was utilised. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS version 20, particularly through descriptive statistics, such as Spearman‟s rank-order correlation and percentages, while qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. Dependence on rainfall for agriculture, which accounted for 94.3% of the respondents, was cited as the main driver for the current state of agriculture. Further, 58.9% and 67% of the farmers did not diversify their crops and livestock, respectively. 93.2% of the respondents cited the desire to increase their income as the main driver of diversification, while 80.1% indicated that access to subsidised inputs such as fertilizer through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and maize market promoted continued production of more maize, while hindering crop diversification. 60% of the experts interviewed through in-depth interviews cited the need to reform the agricultural subsidy under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to shift focus from maize and include other crops with a full package of inputs as a way to enhance crop diversification. Other suggestions included the need for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and other players to create market for other crops. Additionally, the in-depth interviews revealed a need for sharing nutrition information on other foods or crops to create a demand for them, and consequently, a shift from dependence on maize. Most settler farmers at Kasenga Resettlement Scheme were not diversifying their crop production but were instead involved in the production of maize as a main crop, driven mainly by the type of inputs given through FISP and the availability of market for the crop. Therefore, it is clear that crop diversification at resettlement schemes can be enhanced by reforming the agricultural subsidy under FISP to include other crops, with a full package of inputs as well as market availability for all the crops. Additionally sharing nutrition information on other foods or crops can create a demand for them, and consequently, bring about a shift from focusing on maize production to other crops, which may even be more lucrative. Key words: Settler farmers, diversification, agricultural subsidy, Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and nutrition information.
The University of Zambia