LUSAKA - The United States government launched a new agriculture development and food security project aimed at increasing the productivity and incomes of more than 200,000 smallholder farmers in Eastern Province. The Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+) project, funded under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will work with smallholder farming households to increase agricultural production by 30 percent.
PROFIT+ is a four-year, $24 million project implemented by the U.S.-based NGO ACDI/VOCA and is a key part of the United States Feed the Future initiative, which seeks to reduce poverty and improve food security.
“USAID believes in the power of smallholder farmers to increase food security and contribute to Zambia’s economy and development. Through this project, the American people are proudly partnering with Zambian farmers to fight hunger and poverty,” said USAID/Zambia Mission Director Dr. Susan K. Brems.
PROFIT+ will assist smallholder farmers who grow maize, oilseed, and legumes in Eastern Province. The PROFIT+ project will increase food security and decrease hunger by offering smallholder farmers market information, production technology information, and access to commercial inputs, such as fertilizer and pesticide.
Additionally, PROFIT+ will help farmers increase productivity and grow commercial crops to raise income. PROFIT+ will build on previous USAID project activities by linking smallholder farmers with input suppliers, promoting food processing businesses, and ensuring that women farmers fully benefit from all project activities. USAID’s PROFIT+ project will foster economic growth in Zambia and significantly contribute to Millennium Development Goal One: to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015.
The project is in line with the Zambian government’s commitments to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). CAADP aims to increase food supply, reduce hunger and accelerate growth in the agricultural sector by raising the capacity of private entrepreneurs (including commercial and small-holder farmers) to meet the increasingly complex quality and logistic requirements of markets.