Pache pache seed growers in Zambia receive a shot in the arm

pache pache‘Pache Pache’ is an old popular saying in Lambaland, meaning ‘bit-by-bit’. In Kapiri-Mposhi, Central Zambia Pache Pache refers to a Seed Growers Association of smallholder farmers which was started in 2008 with a membership of thirty (30) to grow soybean and cowpea seed. The membership has been growing slowly, as the name implies, and today the association boasts of a membership of seventy five (75).

 

As the association grew gradually, it faced several challenges which included limited knowledge of disease and pest control on their legume crops; lack of awareness of improved agronomic practices, including the benefits of using inoculum and how to apply it in soybean production; unavailability of appropriate seed storage structures; poor marketing arrangements and lack of negotiation skills which often resulted in unscrupulous seed dealers determining buying prices lower than production costs. Fortunately, the association was supported by International Development Enterprise (IDE) Zambia and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) through the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI). They were supported with inputs, training, information and knowledge sharing. They learnt about producing seed, storing seed, and marketing their produce as a group. In 2014, the Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA) stepped in to support the association by not only linking the farmers to reputable markets, but also promoting use of improved seed varieties. In addition, APPSA trained farmers in good agricultural practices which included diseases and pest control.
As a result of APPSA’s intervention, the Association now sells seed to recognized dealers and the yields have tremendously improved. Before APPSA’s intervention, 50 kg of planted soyabeans seed yielded 250 kg of seed; but now farmers are able to harvest 550 kg on average.

 

The farmers have learnt that selling produce to recognized dealers is beneficial as they get fair prices; their training in marketing and pricing has greatly benefited the marketing process. They also learnt that following the crop production guidelines increases yields. The association members reckon that establishing robust market linkages and permanent seed bulking centers are key to prosperity as they will be able to store large quantities of seed for marketing at appropriate times.

 

With access to improved legume seed varieties currently promoted through APPSA, the Pache Pache Association is hopeful that they will be able to penetrate markets further afield and maximise profits.

“After the next harvest, I think I will manage to buy a vehicle” says Mr Chris Chinonge, one of the Association members.


This success story was produced by Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI). Click HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION 

For more about the success story please contact Dr Nathan Phiri, the Principal Investigator for the project at the Zambia Seed Certification & Control Institute (natanphiri@gmail.com).

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