South Africa & World

FQM’S CONSERVATION FARMERS IN 50% OUTPUT GROWTH

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

Farmers under First Quantum Minerals’ Conservation Farming Project have recorded a bumper harvest of 9,000 tonnes (about 180,000 bags) of maize in the 2020/2021 farming season, an increase from 6,000 tonnes (120,000 bags) the previous season.

 

Conservation farming techniques coupled with crop rotation and modern agricultural practices has helped smallholder farmers in North-Western Province under First Quantum’s community support projects navigate through the Armyworm outbreak and other risk on their way to a bumper harvest.

 

“Until 2010, most farmers in communities surrounding our mining operations were mostly subsistence farmers. Now they are all farming for profit, which makes them emerging commercial farmers,” said Maximillian Katanga FQM’s Kansanshi Foundation Supervisor in Charge of Conservation Farming Training and Operations.

FQM has provided training and technical support to close to 40,000 North-Western farmers along with early agricultural input delivery to 7,000 small-holders resulting in a cumulative yield growth of 56 bags per lima from six bags in 2010 – equivalent to 900 percent growth over the last decade.

 

Mr Katanga explained that the mining firm was focused on removing barriers to agricultural growth as part of its effort to create secondary economic development near its mining activities.

 

“Capacity-building of local farmers is key to the success of our market linkage programme, which is also aimed at motivating farmers to increase their production capacity. And the success of the market linkage programme has made proponents of the initiative to call for increased participation from local small-scale farmers to extend the project’s economic benefit in the mine’s catchment area,” he continued.
Since the project’s inception, the goal has been to help farmers in rural communities to graduate from small-scale activities to become emerging commercial farmers.

 

Before farmers join the support programme their average crop yield is 6 bags of maize per lima. This goes up to an average of 18 bags per lima, with regular weekly visits to farmers by the programme’s field officers, who offer guidance to each farmer.

 

The best and most experienced farmers get 54 bags per lima. 450 Farmers achieved over 50 bags of maize per lima this season.
First Quantum has spent over US$100 million on its sustainability and community development programmes to improve the health and the quality of life in local communities.

 

Through its Kansanshi Foundation in Solwezi, the company has stepped up its campaign to end poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind in the communities where it operates.

 

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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