APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
In order to commercialize products with a known market demand, production groups will be established to harvest and process the goods. The production groups will form marketing associations that will undertake marketing and trade activities. This model ensures that the commercialization of the products is driven by capable business persons (entrepreneurs / secondary processors) who serve as a ready market to the primary producers.
SAFIRE, in partnership with the communities, will develop strategies for managing the woodlands and forests. The project will conduct resources assessment and produce Community Resource Management Plans (CRMPs) that will give guidelines for sustainable off-takes for the resources and promote improved management techniques. This will be accomplished with establishment and/or training of traditional and local institutions in the management of natural resources.
The commitment will also introduce appropriate technologies for adding value to the products at the community level. Organized production groups and enterprise units will be established to be used as vehicles for training and technology transfer and building the desired critical mass of product. SAFIRE will facilitate the linkages between the enterprises and the markets.
As most of the products are also consumed within households, the commitment seeks to ensure that the products have a long shelf life so that they are available during food deficit periods in the year. This will be achieved through the use of appropriate processing, packaging and storage methods. The commitment will promote the consumption of the natural foods by providing training on food preparation at household level using new and traditional recipes.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Food Security. The project aims to make natural foods available to households for three months outside the fruiting season of the products. This will reduce the food-deficit periods by more than 50 percent. These natural foods, very rich in vitamins and minerals, are essential ingredients in the local diets and are especially helpful to people living with HIV and AIDS. More than 18,.000 people, mostly women and children, will directly benefit from the improved nutrition. This activity will be undertaken from June, 2011 to December, 2013. Increased Household Incomes. About 3,000 households, involved in the harvesting and processing will add value to the products at community level. Six new products will be developed and traditional methods of harvesting and processing improved to match requirements for new and expanded markets. The producers will be selling their products to local entrepreneurs for final processing for the urban markets. Six enterprises will be established by the end of the project. Institutional Capacity, Governance and Natural Resources Management. The project will facilitate the development of the Community Natural Resources Management Plans (CRMP). Local institutions will be involved in the development and implementation of plans. The capacity of the institutions and communities including the tenets of good governance will be enhanced. Six CRMPs will be implemented by December, 2013.
Most rural areas of Zambia, particularly the dry and agriculturally marginal areas, are confronted with the problem of increasing poverty, food insecurity, low household incomes and generally insecure livelihoods. The marginal areas of the country are characterized by low (less than 600mm annually) erratic rainfall, and acidic and fragile soils that make agriculture-based livelihoods insecure. Most of these areas are, however, endowed with forests and woodlands that have adapted to these conditions and provide a wide range of goods and services upon which poor communities have depended in times of crop failure. Locals use these resources as a source of food and household income. These resources are harvested from the wild without due regard for sustainability. The natural resources are being depleted due to poor harvesting methods employed by the communities. The products are sold onto the market in a raw form or after minimal processing for very low returns. This is due to lack of appropriate processing technology, the accompanying knowledge and skills as well as poorly developed markets.
Zambia is one of the countries in Africa that is battling the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Most rural households in the project area experience long periods of food and nutrition insecurity annually. The consumption of natural foods will improve the quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS.
SAFIRE has developed new products from the natural resources and also improved on those products that the communities have traditionally used. SAFIRE, in partnership with private companies, has improved the quality, shelf life, appearance, and marketability of the products. The private companies have used their financial and business knowledge to penetrate the market.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Media/Marketing Opportunities
We are seeking partnerships that will facilitate improved access to natural foods and other products produced by the beneficiaries. In this regard partners that are able to facilitate market linkages and provide financial resources and technical support for the development of new products and appropriate technologies for use by local communities are required
OFFERING: Implementing Partners
SAFIRE has vast experience in communitybased natural resource management (CBNRM). SAFIRE promotes the management of common property resources for the benefit of the community. SAFIRE assists communities in developing products from their natural environments for home consumption and for the local and international markets. SAFIRE also has experience in promoting production for smallholder farmers and linking the farmers to markets for agricultural inputs, finance and product markets.
SAFIRE's strength is in the development and training of local farmer institutions for the management of natural resource and the operation of farming businesses.