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28/01/14 10:46

Changing lives in Zambia

Minister ends visit to Malawi and Zambia by visiting Scottish aid project.

External Affairs and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf today ended his trip to Malawi and Zambia by visiting a Scottish Government funded aid project which is helping Zambian farmers to improve food security and household incomes.

Mr Yousaf visited SCIAF’s Kulima Programme in Lusaka, Zambia, which is working through the local Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) to help 1,350 small-holder farmers improve food production, and the amount of food they produce for their family, by using organic methods.

He met farmers using the new methods on visits to their farms as well as the project managers.

The visit comes at the end of a week-long visit to Malawi and Zambia, in which Mr Yousaf welcomed the arrival of the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton, Government Ministers and visited Scottish Government funded development projects in both countries.

Mr Yousaf said:

“Visiting farms involved with the Kulima programme and talking to farmers made it clear what a different the programme is already making since we first partnered with SCIAF and KATC in 2008.

“The project aims to increase yields so farmers have enough to feed themselves and their families, changing people’s lives for the better and helping people to help themselves.

“It’s a great example of the sort of project the Scottish Government is proud to support, and of the strong links which already exist between Scotland and Zambia.

“This visit to Zambia and Malawi has cemented the strong and important relationship Scotland has with both countries.

“I’ve seen first-hand the life-changing results we are achieving through partnership working between Scotland and Malawi and Zambia – whether that’s in education, renewable energy, economic development or climate change.

“Our nations have much to learn from each other. This visit has made clear to me that not only do we have a shared past, we also have an important shared future.”

SCIAF’s Programme Officer with responsibility for the Kulima Programme, Stephen Martin said:

“Over 80 per cent of rural households in Zambia live in poverty and experience hunger on a daily basis. To improve this terrible situation we urgently need to address a range of problems including unsustainable agricultural practices which have led to poor soil fertility and decreasing harvests, as well as how farmers can best deal with the changing climate.

“SCIAF’s work with the Scottish Government and other partners is doing this by training local farmers in low-cost sustainable practices such as organic composting and crop diversity which reintroduces valuable nutrients back into the soil to help improve harvests.

“It’s great for Scotland’s Minister for International Development & External Affairs to be able to see the Kulima Programme in action and how Scottish money is changing lives and reducing poverty here.”

Notes to editors

SCIAF have been given a total of £2.7 million from the International Development Fund to deliver two projects in Zambia aimed at helping farmers increase food production between 2008 and 2015, the Promoting Rural Food Security Programme (2008-12) and the Kulima Programme (2012 – 2015.)