Promotion of Appropriate Agricultural Technologies and the Management of the Fertilizer Support Programme in Zambia

The Case of Small-Holder Farmers

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2012

26 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents


Abbreviations and Acronyms

1 Introduction
1.1 Development and Poverty
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Methodology of the Study

2 Agriculture and Development – Review of Literature
2.1 Agriculture Terminology
2.2 Development Concept
2.3 Technology for Agriculture Development
2.2.1 Transferred Technology
2.2.2 Case of Appropriate Agricultural Technologies
2.2.3 Appropriate Technology Concept

3 Agriculture Development in Zambia
3.1 Technology Development
3.2 Mechanization Policy
3.3 Reform of Technology Policy

4 Appropriate Agricultural Technologies for Small-holder Farmers
4.1 Problem of Transferred Technology
4.2 Appropriate Technology Policy
4.3 Agricultural Research and Development
4.4 Fertilizer Support Programme

5 Study Findings and Comments
5.1 Role of Small- Holder Farmers in Agriculture Development
5.2 Appropriate Development Technologies for Small-holder Farmers
5.3 Implementation of the Fertilizer Support Programme (FSP)
5.4 Options for Government

6 Conclusion



The paper explores measures put in place by the Zambian government over the years to enhance the small holder farmers’ access to appropriate agricultural technologies and the management of the Fertilizer Support Programme. The paper focusses on the development of appropriate technology for small – holder farmers, who constitute the majority of the agricultural population in Zambia. Of significance are the analysis of government policy on the development on appropriate technologies and the management of the Fertilizer Support Programme to the advantage of small-holder farmers.

The paper finds the significance of small-holder farmers in economic development as a crucial factor. The paper further finds the government with no choice but to pursue the agriculture sector vision of an efficient, competitive, sustainable and export lead agriculture sector that assures food security and increased incomes. This entails the development of appropriate technologies and policy initiatives ideal to small holder farmers at every level.

Keywords: Development Policy, Agriculture, Appropriate Technology, Small-holder Farmers, Fertilizer Support Programme, Management, Mechanization Policy, Agriculture Research, Technology Policy.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

1.1 Development and Poverty

Development is a concept that is pursued in varying forms in different economies. But the most pronounced is the one being experienced in developing economies. This is so because of the many economic and social problems that developing economies have been experiencing as a result of the political and economic changes that have continued to sweep through these economies over the years. The changes have fundamentally shifted the understanding of development in that a range of both new and unresolved challenges have continued to take the centre stage. Zambia is not an exception to these development challenges. One of the most pronounced challenge is that of the ever increasing levels of poverty and scanty development across the country.

The issue of persistent poverty has remained the major challenge in Zambia. This is because almost eighty percent of the population is locked in a vicious cycle of human suffering as a result of poverty. This is despite the economy registering consistent economic growth over the years. The situation of poverty is worse in the rural areas where most of the people are highly impoverished with no means of living decent lives due to lack of basic necessities of life. The poverty prone mainly suffers immensely from inadequate access to economic and social resources. The majority of the people in the rural areas are poverty prone because of their dependence on farming as the main source of livelihood. The problem is that such people are not able to even sustain themselves in their farming ventures as they lack access to improved seed, fertilizers, credit facilities and markets for their farm produce.

Poverty levels in rural areas are in contrast to those of urban areas, where some people have direct benefit from government’s development initiatives. Such a situation is clearly evident in the ever increasing disparities between the rural and urban communities in the distribution of welfare. The disparities are attributable to the ever widening economic and social gap between the rich and the poorest in society. This is like history repeating itself when one reflects back to the era of colonialism, which has the root in the current development problems. As Worsley, (1984, p1) put it” the whole of history, is the history of development implying that the disparities being experienced in the present era have their root in the history of development and cannot therefore be completely overlooked”. This could be the reason why the issue of poverty remains the Government’s most pressing economic and social challenge.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

With poor prospects for copper and the limited opportunities for developing other potential industries in Zambia, the Government saw agriculture with its related agro-industries to be a potential growth sector in the economy and as a major effort to address the poverty issues mostly in the rural areas of the country. However, despite the agricultural sector having the potential for growth and development, “the sector has continued to experience low investment and low production and productivity especially among small-holder farmers of which 65 percent are women”, (SNDP, 2011-2015, p.121). This is evidently clear when consideration is taken that of the twelve million hectares of arable land; only two million are continuously cropped to a greater extent. This is a clear reflection of the problem of production technologies available to farmers of which the majority are small- holder farmers who own or cultivate less than two hectares of land, mainly for their subsistence living.

Notwithstanding the substantial potential to contribute to the national food supply and to agricultural GDP, small-holder farmers are nonetheless found to constitute a third of the country’s most poverty – stricken due to the unproductive nature of the type of agriculture in which they are engaged. The difficult is that most of the small-holder farmers have no appropriate technology and are only dependent on the traditional methods of production where hoes and cutlasses are used to cultivate the land. Further still, they have limited or no access to the supply of inputs such as fertilizers and other farming implements.

Lack of appropriate technology and access to other farm inputs are noted as major hurdles in the efforts of the small-holder farmers to enhance agricultural productivity. The understanding is that small-holder farmers’ agricultural productivity is an important aspect to increased employment, higher rural incomes and the reduction in the disparity between rural and urban areas. However, technologies do not just fall like “manna from heaven”. There are exogenously determined meaning that there are always other factors at play. Cost factors are some of the major determinant of technology. Cost factors, for example, are the major constraints to small-holders farmers because there are limiting factors to their quest for appropriate technology to carry out various farm initiatives.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The essence of the study was therefore to explore the measures that the government had had to put in place over the years to enhance the small holder farmers’ access to appropriate agricultural technologies and the management of the some interventions such as the fertilizer support programme (FSP).

Essentially, the study sought to examine the development of appropriate technology in relation to Zambia agricultural sector. In the discussion of development and appropriate technology, focus was on the small – holder farmers, who apparently constituted the majority of the agricultural population. An attempt was made to understand the appropriate technologies required by small-holders farmers to enhance their agricultural productivity. Of significance were the analysis of government policy on the development on appropriate technologies and the management of the FSP to the advantage of small-holder farmers. Further, the understanding of the requirements and constraints of the small-holder farmers were also of significance to enable the making of suggestions which were to guide government policy for a well integrated agricultural development and management programme.

1.4 Methodology of the Study

Due to limitations in the scope of the study and the non-availability of some statistical data on small-holder farmers in Zambia, it was not possible to do an empirical assessment of the development and adoption of appropriate agricultural technologies with regard to small-holder farmers in Zambia. The study only relied on the available documentation of the previous studies on agriculture in general and the situations that prevailed on the ground. Some selected discussions were nevertheless held with relevant stakeholders to confirm the accuracy of the information and possible outcomes.

2 Agriculture and Development – Review of Literature

2.1 Agriculture Terminology

Agriculture is often considered “as an art of science of cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of crops, and the rearing and management of livestock; tillage; husbandry and farming” (Brain Quote 2012). Cultivation in this sense means the production of food by preparing the land to grow crops either on a small or large scale. Husbandry, on the other hand has to do with the breeding and caring of farm animals. In farming, there are

Growth in Agriculture often involves improvements by means of agricultural techniques. However, it is found that this growth, especially with small-holder farmers, is mainly constrained by inadequate extension services, high cost of financing, inadequate infrastructure and poor functioning agricultural marketing, among others.

2.2 Development Concept

In its simplest term, development would mean change. In the words of Thirlwall, (1995,p12)., development is “ a process of transformation of the entire economic and social system which eventually lead to the improvement of the livelihood of the people and often follow a well-ordered sequence and exhibit common characteristics across countries”. The sequence and exhibition of common characteristics across countries is however an issue of debate due to tremendous contrasts and diversities among different countries due to their physical and geographical positions which differentiate them by their economic status or the endowed characteristics. The debate is that it is not possible for developmental characteristics to be applicable to countries even if they are to follow a similar pattern because development is a process that does not occur haphazardly but is gradual and only reaches the level of full potential at later stages.

Development, in terms of social and economic phenomena, goes beyond the traditional paradigm of development, where it is linked to the growth of the Gross National Product (GNP). The GNP traditional understanding of development mainly looked at the rapid gains from the increase in GNP in an economy and their “a trickle-down effect. The understanding was that “through these gains, the masses would eventually benefit through the creation of the necessary conditions for equal distribution of economic and social benefits of growth” (Todaro, 1997, p 14). This was more of a materialistic notion of development were issues of output, employment, and income per capita were more pronounced than the beneficiaries or the changes in human conditions. Changes in human conditions are mainly associated to poverty, unemployment and inequality in the distribution of welfare. In the new development thinking, the issues of poverty and its effects on the lives of people seem to take the centre stage in the development focus. The understanding is that higher levels of poverty in any country have greater effects on the economy in that they completely over-shadow any economic achievements wherever they persist. Development in such an environment would mean more than an attempt to reduce poverty in order to achieve social, economic and political improvement for the betterment of society. This is because the lack of development in an environment is usually characterized by poverty, hunger and disease which undermine the human potential to develop. The presence of poverty, hunger and disease in an environment eventually lead to political conflicts. The issue of development therefore becomes crucial in that development problems perhaps more than the problems associated with any other aspect of human life, are the problems of policy. It is an issue of self-determination, which comes into play when people consider the benefits that accrue with development.


Excerpt out of 26 pages


Promotion of Appropriate Agricultural Technologies and the Management of the Fertilizer Support Programme in Zambia
The Case of Small-Holder Farmers
( Atlantic International University )  (School of Business and Economics)
Development Policy and Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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promotion, appropriate, agricultural, technologies, management, fertilizer, support, programme, zambia, case, small-holder, farmers
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Stephen Gumboh (Author), 2012, Promotion of Appropriate Agricultural Technologies and the Management of the Fertilizer Support Programme in Zambia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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