Zambia Final Report: Climate Resilient Cropping Strategies

This case study for the Zambian Mission facilitated experiential learning on climate risks faced by farmers and the support institutions in current development activities in Northern Province.  The investigation uses existing farmer demonstration plots operated by Livelihood Enhancement Groups (LEGs), together with engagement from partners (Self-Help Africa and CGIAR consortium), to adjust business-as-usual cropping strategies for climate risk. This report details the stages of the exercise carried out between February 2016 and July 2017 – scoping, participatory risk assessment, farmer dialogue, crop planting, and harvest evaluation – and presents the findings of the action research.  The first sections of the document set out the relevant literature and the development of a conceptual framework for climate risk management of smallholder farming.  The second section outlines the participatory climate risk assessment exercise for participants in four LEGs.  This established business-as-usual cropping strategies and practices of LEG participants, and calculated the climate risks to crops through a simple formula (risk = magnitude of crop losses x probability of occurrence). Section three sets out and applies a methodology to integrate findings from the risk assessment with seasonal forecast information, which are used to improve resilience by systematically adjusting business-as-usual cropping strategies.  The performance of business-as-usual and risk adjusted crop strategies are then compared by planting the two strategies.   Using monetary valuations of yields, the final sections document the relative performance of risk adjusted cropping strategies, in addition to the experiential learning of LEG farmers.