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Programme for Luapula Agricultural and Rural Development (PLARD) Phase II

Together with FCG International, ORGUT implemented PLARD II in full alignment with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives’ provincial department level. The programme aimed at achieving an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural and fisheries sector, ensuring increased income and food security through supporting five components: Agribusiness; Agriculture; Capture fisheries; Aquaculture; and Institutional/organisational development.

The Agribusiness component supported farmer groups in developing their farms as businesses. It also paid special attention to value chain improvements of agribusiness in 1-2 specific products (e.g. rice & cassava), especially in areas of high market and business potential. The Agriculture component developed the Commodity Study Group approach focusing on maintaining and improving crop and livestock production for food security and livelihood resilience purposes. The target beneficiaries of the CSG approach were farmers who lived in remote areas of Luapula and were exposed to high risks of food insecurity. Conservation farming practices were used to build soil fertility and raise pH levels. These components were implemented by MACO extensions staff and an outsourced service provider with support from a long term TA.

The Capture fisheries component supported the development of sustainable co-management arrangements for the Mweru-Luapula and Bangweulu fisheries. Support to the co-management committees focused on building their capacity to become sustainable and effective partners of government for the sustainable management of the fisheries. A sustainable revenue collection mechanisms based on collection of fish license fees was established. Catch Assessment Surveys were carried out to provide vital information for the management of the fisheries.

The Aquaculture component contributed to wealth creation and food security for households particularly in areas with low capture fisheries potential.

The long term sustainability of the PLARD interventions depended on the capacity of the Ministry structures at provincial and district level to effectively provide services and an enabling environment for agricultural and fisheries development. This component’s aim was therefore to strengthen organisational and institutional capacity of MACO/MLFD structures in Luapula province. The focus was on financial management and procurement & planning, monitoring and evaluation. Organisational capacity development was in particular addressed during the first years of PLARD II, with a view to develop systems and capacity to a level that allowed effective full alignment of PLARD with government structures and systems as soon as possible.

PLARD II paid particular attention to HIV/AIDS mainstreaming as well as to targeting vulnerable groups (people living with HIV/AIDS, widows, elderly, disabled) through outsourcing. Specific gender and climate change studies were implemented. Access to credit & saving systems was improved.