Climate heroes bridge gaps in Zambia

Real-time weather forecasts help farmers win their battle against the impact of climate change.

Agro-meteorological services help nearly 1 million farmers in Zambia in building climate resilient lives.
Grace Milimo, 36, lives in the Southern Province, one of the driest region of Zambia. She has had to deal with harvest loss more than once in the past, but now manages to produce “bumper” harvests to protect her family against food insecurity and pay for her children’s education.

Innovating for change

Aside from supporting agro-meteorological services, UNDP is collaborating with the Government of Zambia and partner agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) to support Zambia’s implementation of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

Bumper harvests help protect families against food insecurity and provide extra revenue.

Collecting data, saving lives

Droughts and floods over the last 30 years have cost Zambia more than US$13.8 billion according to recent estimates — that is equivalent to 4 percent of annual GDP growth. The impacts of climate change could cost the country an additional US$$4.3 billion in lost GDP over the next decade if immediate actions aren’t taken.

More than 68 automated weather stations and 40 manual stations have already been installed across the country.
Met Officer Abraham Sikalzwe engages smallscale farmers in the Eastern Province.

Finding common ground

Tissa Mwale Adamson, 38, who leads a group of 86 women farmers in the drought-prone district of Mambwe in Zambia’s Eastern Province says even barriers such as illiteracy cannot prevent them from using their newly found skills. Some of her friends who cannot read the text messages let their children or people from the village to read it and interpret for them in their local language.

The project is using mobile phones and solar powered radios to enable farmers get weather forecasts while on the move.

Food security

Food security remains a serious challenge in Zambia. Despite more than a decade of consistent economic growth, around 40 percent of children under 5 are stunted and in the countryside 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

With improved climate information, Roida and other smallholder farmers across the country are improving productivity.
The project also promotes the conservation of water and improved use of irrigation technologies.

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