Small scale farmers' awareness of organic agriculture in selected farm blocks of Chongwe district

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Sitali, Namakando Grace
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The University of Zambia
This study explored small scale farmers’ awareness of the use of organic agriculture for a sustainable environment in selected farm blocks of Chongwe District. The study was realized through the following objectives; determining the nature of farming systems in Chongwe District, ascertaining awareness of programmes in organic agriculture amongst small scale farmers and establishing participation in training activities aimed at promoting organic agriculture. The significance of the study was to advocate for sustainable forms of agriculture such as organic agriculture in achieving a sustainable environment. The study predominantly employed a qualitative research design. This was done by means of a case study approach. The methods used for data collection were semi structured interviews and questionnaires. The sample size was 65 respondents which comprised 61 small scale farmers who were sampled using snowballing procedure, 1 official of a sustainable agricultural centre and 3 extension officers were sampled purposively. The results established that despite the high levels of knowledge about organic agriculture in the area, adoption of the farming system was still low amongst small scale farmers in Chongwe District. The study further revealed that majority of the respondents were aware of the awareness programmes aimed at promoting organic agriculture in the area, though very few of the respondents had accessed training due to long distances between farm villages and the training centre. Thus training providers for organic agriculture needs to host training programmes within the villages to enable an inclusive participation amongst the farmers. This kind of farming system would help in maintaining sustainability of the environment. Additionally, the study revealed that training in organic agriculture was mainly advocated by a non-governmental organisation in the area. Therefore, the study recommended that government prioritise organic agriculture through its agricultural policies and offer financial support to institutions offering training in organic farming to enable more small scale farmers engage in organic agriculture. In stressing the need for sustainability of the environment, the study suggested the following future area of research; an assessment of the effects of conventional agriculture on small scale farmers in rural communities.
Organic farming , Farms, Small--Zambia