Livelihood strategies of Small-Scale Farmers in Nankanga Camp of Kafue District,Zambia

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Chikopela, Juliet
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This study examined the livelihood strategies of small-scale farm households, their food security status and the challenges they face to meet their livelihoods in Nakanga Agriculture Camp of Kafue services officers and village headmen. The study revealed that the households depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihoods. The crops grown include maize, beans, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, cotton and sorghum. The average yield for maize, the staple food crop, is only about 1.7 tons per hectare, 57 percent below the minimum potential yield of at least 4 tons per hectare. Farmers keep animals such as cattle, goat and chickens. The results showed that farmers also engage in non-agricultural or off farming season activities that are sources of income for their households. These are sale of charcoal, petty trading, piece work, gardening and remittances. The study revealed that food security in the study area is a challenge, with about 87 percent reporting having food shortages during the year. The period with food shortages was between November and March with a peak food shortage in February. With regard to agricultural constraints, it was found that the most binding constraint was inability to buy hybrid seed and fertilizer mainly due to the high cost of the inputs. This was followed by lack of draught power and lack of human labour. Based on the findings, it is important that the government should improve farmer’s access to financial capital through deliberate loan facilities that target small-scale agriculture. Development efforts should consider supporting small-scale farmers through extension training to use existing animals more effectively by improving management practices such as strategic feed supplementation and disease prevention so as to substantially increase draught power availability. The use of donkeys as an alternative to cattle for draught power should also be promoted through extension training.District Lusaka.