Sustainable food security, development and economic growth depend on the environment and its rich biodiversity. Climate change is felt everywhere around the globe. However, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continent. It has an extremely high rate of subsistence farmers, who depend on rain fed crops.
In Zambia over 60% of the population feeds the nation but live at or below the poverty line. Subsistence farmers sell or barter their produce, which should feed the family, on the street or market to meet other needs, such as clothing, items for personal hygiene and to pay for school fees. Most farmers don't get a fair price for their produce, which is grown under harsh conditions and hard labour, using only hand tools such as the hoe, axe and slasher.
Seeds are saved year after year from their own crop to plant in the next rainy season (November to March). Staple diet is maize and cassava. Other crops are beans, groundnuts (peanuts), sunflower and soya beans. Some farmers are growing tomatoes, chinese cabbage, pumpkins on a small scale. Farming as a business is not common. Illiteracy level amongst the rural population is very high.
Chitemene system is the most used farming method among subsistence and small scale farmers in Zambia. http://www.itswild.org/n1210/chitimene-farming-damage
50 years ago the population was around 3 (three) million. Today the population is about 14 million. The land ownership becomes now a big challenge this farming method is no longer sustainable. More land is constantly needed to meet the demand. Indiscriminate cutting down of indigenous trees becomes a threat to sustainable food security.
Charcoal trading and burning of bricks for the current building boom, is seen as a way to survive and often as a way out of poverty. In reality the deforestation is perpetuating poverty. Zambia is amongst the highest in the world for loss of forest. According to the Forestry Department in 2010/11 about 350,000 hectare is lost every year. This is still increasing. Demand on wood for fuel and timber industry is growing rapidly.
The deforestation has also negative effects on the rich biodiversity of the country. Habitat for animals, small and big, is deminishing. Plantations of exotic tree varieties also presenting a threat. Eucalyptus and Pine plantations are taking over valuable land and have a detremental effect on the soil condition and biodiversity.
Many parts of the country have a problem with invasive weeds, such as Bracken Fern, Nutgrass, Double-G, Water Hyacinth and Lantana, which are taking over agricultural as well as forest areas.
It is a myth that more land is needed to grow more for food security. Organic and conservation farming can produce more then enough for the country, region and even the continent. Countries such as Uganda and Kenya are examples of improving agricultural output the natural way.
Information on the effects of Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms <blockquote ><p><a href="http://t.co/jcJQWgFUwS" title="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/04/roundup-usual-suspect-herbicide-sales-drive-monsanto-profit">motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2…</a></p>— Trudy Baker (@trudy_baker) <a href="https://twitter.com/trudy_baker/status/323091632029319171">April 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
OSCAR projects create opportunities for participating communities to improve their livelihood and food security by changing the mindset and develop in a sustainable responsible manner.
All projects consider the needs of the community and the sustainability of the natural environment with its rich but threatened biodiversity.
The group cares for the environment as the source for all that we need for survival.
TREE CROPS ARE A PERMANENT AGRICULTURE
and a means so ensure sustainable food security.
Tree crops can be grown for food, fodder, medicine to improve soil fertility and protect the soil from erosion. Tree roots act like a sponge, release excess water a drip at a time into the surrounding area, help replenish the ground water table. Trees give shade, keep the soil cool, provide habitat and shelter for all the creatures we need to protect and keep our field crops and gardens free of pests.
To find Project OSCAR (Organic Solutions for Conservation and Agricultural Results) click on link below:
Besides infrastructure, the demand on safe, clean water, pastoral land, timber for construction and fuel as household energy is forever increasing. With deforestation and land degradation food security and development cannot be sustainable. Adaption and mitigation to climate change is a challenge we all have to face.
THE ENVIRONMENT IS A GIFT OF THE ALMIGHTY AND INHERITANCE FOR OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN.
WHAT KIND OF LEGACY DO WE LEAVE BEHIND FOR THEM?
ARE WE THINKING ABOUT THE SURVIVAL OF FUTURE GENERATIONS?