Seeds of Hope has designed it’s agriculture program to address many of the challenges facing small scale, urban farmers in Zambia. Over half of Zambia’s population—6.6 million people—rely on subsistence agriculture for survival. After a safe water source has been secured, improved agriculture is an important next step to reversing the cycle of poverty. To meet the need for agriculture training, Seeds of Hope established Sohippo Village, Farming as a Business Classes, and demonstration plots at our Ndola Resource Center.

SHIP’s community agriculture and nutrition mentorship program is drawing upon expertise offered by volunteers, interns, commercial farmers and the ministry of Agriculture, with a real working knowledge in agriculture to educate local farmers and students.  We found through experience that success in agricultural training has to begin in a controlled environment with small, successful steps and exposure to practices, techniques and equipment that is not always available to impoverished farmers. We feel that this can be accomplished by having our initial trainings at the Resource Center and then following the students from there into their own fields or church fields.

Step 1: establish Seeds of Hope Resource Center as a training center for urban, community agriculture training through curriculum development and host a year-long community agriculture class for up to 20-40 students (see our Urban Agriculture Demonstration Center)
Step 2: Expand community demonstration farms to local churches, schools with students represented during the previous trainings.
Step 3: Continue multiplying trainings throughout the Ndola region and beyond

Under the guidance and expertise of volunteers, interns and agriculture experts, the agriculture program will educate participants on new technologies to enhance traditional Zambian farming techniques and sustainability. Instruction will focus on the following:

Drip Irrigation
Organic techniquesBasic Nutrition
Crop diversification
Water storage
Plant and soils research
Soil building and composting
Sales and Marketing
Research and Development
Pest control
Hygiene and Sanitation

With an emphasis on the new low-cost and organic (as much as possible) technologies and techniques relating to the above topics, SHIP anticipates better crop yields and increased nutritional value of crops grown at the farm.

The goals of this program are to:

1) demonstrate self-sustainable farms in communities and schools;
2) establish a controlled demonstration farm for research with an accessible link directly to the community members;
3) encourage crop diversity, and growing year round to create economic opportunities for small holder farmers;
4) empower Zambians to be successful by giving them additional tools in business development, agricultural improvements, and education (organic techniques, nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation)

SHIP program include government officials, teachers, church leaders, NGOs, and community leaders.  The goal of each program and resource center is to mentor the poor with relevant knowledge, applicable technology, and hands-on experience, empowering them with skills necessary to initiate lasting change in their communities.