A Zambian farmer has been invited to speak at a number of events on the side-line of Cop27, the United Nations climate change conference kicking off in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt on Sunday.
Esther Zulu is part of an entourage from a new project called “Accelerating impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA).” Building on 50 years of innovation, CGIAR is an acronym for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
With a presence in Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia, AICCRA works to scale climate-smart agriculture and climate information services that reach millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.
As part of the AICCRA delegation, Zulu will speak at events hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as the first ever official Food and Agriculture Pavilion to be hosted in the history of such UN climate summits.
Born in Nyimba district in the eastern part of Zambia, Zulu is a member of the Nsenga tribe. She currently lives and farms on property inherited from her parents, both of whom were farmers.
She is also a community leader, serving as chairperson of the Chitetezo Farmer Federation, which represents 55 farmer cooperatives that focus on improving the cost-efficiency of its community-based supply chain of legumes, in collaboration with Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO).
Her experience is testimony of the social innovation that strengthens local farmers’ business capacity, accountability, and transparency through inclusive business models, with the private sector promoting nature conservation and sustainable agriculture.
Speaking to AICCRA ahead of Cop27, Zulu said, “Climate change is real and threatens Zambian crop and livestock systems, impacting agricultural businesses and undermining livelihoods. All the leaders meeting in Egypt should encourage farmers in various countries to promote climate-smart agriculture, especially restoring the trees that have been destroyed.”
AICCRA is supported by a $60-million grant from the International Development Association of the World Bank. In Zambia, specifically, AICCRA provides local internship programmes and accelerator grants for SMEs and entrepreneurs.
“AICCRA works with us here in Zambia as partners by scaling actionable climate information services,” explained Zulu.
“To address the climate challenge here in Zambia, AICCRA improves access to solar irrigation, drought tolerant seed varieties, aquaculture and helps diversify chicken, goat and legume systems.”
Cop27 ends on Friday, 18 November. Held under the theme “Together for implementation”, Cop27 is being billed as an “African Cop” as the impact of climate change on African countries will be a key theme of discussions.