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Commercialization of Neglected and Underutilized Species

Lumanda (Hibiscus) planted for seed production and marketing.

CTDT has been engaged in seed production and marketing of groundnuts, maize and beans to address issues of seed accessibility, affordability and availability as well as addressing food and nutrition security at the household level. In this regard, 272 farmers are producing quality seed. Furthermore, CTDT aims to build community resilience against climate change through income generation for households. The seed production activities are being implemented in Shibuyunji and Chikankata districts.

In 2022, CTDT sort to also include seed production and marketing of Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) that are important for addressing nutrition but have limited seed quantities within the targeted communities. NUS seed production and marketing project, is aimed at enhancing nutrition security and income generation for rural communities in Zambia. With the intensification of the chemical agriculture industry, there has been an increase in the number of non-communicable health conditions, which in turn has led to an increase in the demand and consumption of foods grown without the use of pesticides which have been underutilized in the past.

In Shibuyunji district, Tuyakapili and Tiyatop Farmer Field Schools (FFS) have been involved in Seed production of Lumanda (Hibiscus), Bondwe(Amaranthus), indigenous spring onion and local rape(Brassica). In Chikankata district, the FFS are focusing on Cleome production.

Amaranthus locally known as bondwe.

The NUS seed production and marketing has made significant progress in enhancing nutrition security and income generation for rural communities in Zambia. The farmers plan to increase on the diversity of local vegetable crop production by conducting irrigated seed multiplication of NUS through home gardens so as to increase the quantities of seed. The farmers envision that they will contribute to the enhanced access and availability of indigenous vegetable produce and seeds through community-based seed production within their communities and surrounding areas.

Despite their underutilization, NUS play a crucial role in contributing to household food and nutrition security as they are important sources of essential nutrients. Most NUS are well adapted to local environmental conditions hence contributing to the adaptability and mitigation capacities of communities to climate change.

CTDT envisages that NUS could help transform food systems provided there is research and supportive policy for their seed production and marketing as well as utilization.
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