Better Life Alliance (BLA), funded by USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, was a food security project implemented in the Luangwa valley in the Eastern Province of Zambia in an area with communal lands for 63 cheifdoms surrounding national parks and protected forest. Land degradation and poor soil quality led to low food security in the area, and climate change is anticipated to reduce crop yields (World Bank 2016b)/taxonomy/term/7951. Agricultural expansion is the primary driver of land use change, and savannah degradation and conversion contribute significantly to Zambia’s national GHG emissions (Day et al. 2014, FAO 2015f)/taxonomy/term/7982 /taxonomy/term/7973.
BLA aimed to improve agricultural value chains and market links in order to reduce poverty, encourage sustainable land management and improve conservation. To provide market-based incentives the product label “It’s Wild!” and a possibility of selling products 10-20% above market prices was offered to farmers for complying with wildlife conservation standards and practicing conservation agriculture. The BLA project impacted GHG emissions and carbon sequestration through avoided degradation and conversion of savanna, agroforestry expansion, soil and manure management improvements, crop-residue burning reduction, and fertilizer management.
Relationship to CSA
The BLA project benefitted farmers by increasing productivity in the groundnut, maize, rain-fed rice and soybean value chains. Activities that avoided savanna degradation and conversion provided significant mitigation benefits.
Impact and lessons learned
Farmers were connected to consumer markets through a business model that provided incentives for conservation and climate change mitigation. In addition to the mitigation benefits, BLA also avoided degradation on 395,000 ha and avoided conversion of 15,450 ha through community conservation plans to prevent savanna fires. The improved farming practices encouraged by BLA also resulted in increased yields and decreased post-harvest losses.
Link to info note
World Bank. 2016b. Climate Change Knowledge Portal: for Development Practitioners and Policy Makers.http://sdwebx.worldbank.org/climateportal/index.cfm?page=country_historical_climate&ThisRegion=Africa&ThisCCode=ZMB It is important to evaluate how climate has varied and changed in the past. The monthly mean historical rainfall and temperature data can be mapped to show the baseline climate and seasonality by month, for specific years, and for rainfall and temperature. The chart above shows mean historical monthly temperature and rainfall for Zambia during the time period 1901-2015. The dataset was produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia (UEA).
Day M, Gumbo D, Moombe KB, Wijaya A, Sunderland T. 2014. Zambia Country Profile: Monitoring, Reporting and Verification for REDD+. CIFOR Occasional Paper no. 113. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).http://dx.doi.org/10.17528/cifor/004932 This report provides a comprehensive overview of the national REDD+ strategy and institutional capacity for MRV of REDD+ as well as the current state of knowledge of various elements critical to MRV of REDD+ in Zambia including: Current drivers and rates of deforestation and forest degradation; a review of standing biomass, forest growth rates and carbon stock estimates; and data sets available for MRV in Zambia.
FAO. 2015f. Agriculture-charcoal interactions as determinants of deforestation rates: Implications for REDD+ design in Zambia. Policy Brief No. 6. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5134e.pdf This policy brief addresses the question of the economic drivers of both deforestation and forest degradation (DD) in Zambia1 . It develops a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario to support reference levels for greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions. The relative contributions to DD of the two largest proximate drivers of deforestation in Zambia, charcoal production and agriculture, are predicted under different scenarios over the 2015-2022 period. Possible ways of reducing land use change (LUC) are examined using an economy-wide model capturing Zambia’s different agro-ecological regions (AERs) (Figure 1). The model assumes that forests used for unsustainable charcoal production are degraded, or can be in part converted to land for agriculture use. However, land can also be deforested directly for agricultural use without going through charcoal production. The brief concludes that concerted action on both the supply and demand sides is crucial to the success of the national strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).