ZAWARD ESSAY WRITING COMPETITION

ZaWARD held an essay writing competition that ran up to the 18th of August 2021. With Zambia having some of the lowest levels of innovation for the period 2015-2019, it is imperative to boost innovations in the country especially where agriculture is concerned. An essay competition was held for recent undergraduate degree graduates with the following questions:

  1. Choosing from one of the areas in Zambia’s Agricultural sector (fisheries, crops or livestock) explain using a gendered lens how the particular area is affected by the COVID19 pandemic and what innovation/s can be introduced to overcome the challenges and boost the performance of smallholder farmers.

2. The COVID19 pandemic could impact food systems in the country if the labor force and productivity capacity are reduced due to movement restrictions and an increase in the number of infected people. If food systems are unable to ensure regular supply of food commodities due to market closure this will affect traders and farmers who might incur huge food and income losses if unable to sell their commodities and consequently food insecurity is expected to grow. Outline how such a situation can be avoided and suggest an innovation that can connect farmers to the market/end users should there be restrictions in the supply network.

Winners of the essay writing competition were attached to GIZ Zambia and Musika Development Initiatives as interns

Meet the Essay Competition Winners

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Wiila Nonde

Wiila has a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural extension from the University of Zambia. He is very passionate about the Agricultural Sector. His interests include but are not limited to: Livelihood analysis, Farming systems, Research and Development.

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Able Bwalya

Able holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics with a Distinction from the University of Zambia. He has always been interested in Agricultural Economics as it encompasses economic research into the dynamics of various food systems. His current research interest is on the impact of agriculture investment (building of technology e.g. processing plants) on the livelihoods of people. Sharing his thoughts on agriculture he had this to say, “I believe agriculture not only alleviates poverty but increases household welfare and consequently the national welfare at large.”

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Malambo Muloongo

Malambo has a Bachelor’s degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries from Copperbelt University. Looking towards the future he aspires to become a role model to the fellow youths out there through his dedication to hard work in all aspects of his life: spiritually, financially, intellectually and socially.     

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Alinani Sinkala

Alinani has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Zambia in Development Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. He acknowledges that development cannot be attained without the inclusion of gender balance. Pursuing Development Studies stemmed from his agricultural background and his interaction with marginalized groups. “I know the change I can render and give back to my community and country at large”, he explains.

Congratulations to all the essay competition winners. We wish them the very best of luck in their upcoming careers.

TOMATO PROCESSING TRAINING

            ZaWARD in conjunction with NiWARD conducted a tomato processing training from the 6th to the 8th of October 2021. It was both virtual via zoom and physical at the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) offices in Chilanga, Zambia. Participants present physically came from DAPP, Technoserve, IAPRI, Gender Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Women Who Farm Africa, DZIWA Trust, NAIS, IITA, ZaWARD and AgriEn Network. 105 participants registered for the virtual meeting and attendance ranged from 20 to 30 participants daily. The following African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) country chapters attended virtually; EWARD, GhaWARD, LiWARD, ZaWARD, NiWARD, KeWARD and MaWARD.

The training consisted of both theory and practical components. The theory component comprised of a power point presentation on the general definition of tomato, its commercial value, and health benefits, processing steps required to make Tomato puree, Tomato jam, Tomato sauce, Tomato juice and finally a group discussion to brain storm on value addition of tomatoes. There was a group activity where participants formed groups and answered questions. The results were then presented by the group representative of each group for both the virtual and physical groups. Participants were able to outline up to 31 different words from the word tomatoes. Additionally they were able to brain storm and come up with nine different products that can be processed from tomato to add value and reduce wastage. Through this activity participants were able to share different products being made from tomatoes in different countries and regions. Some of the interesting products mentioned that sparked debates and a broader discussion were tomato facial creams and chips.

Following the training all material used ranging from power point presentations to processing manuals were shared with all participants. They were further encouraged to ensure that the knowledge and skills they obtained from the training should be shared with smallholder farmers and their various networks. The image below was sent through by a participant who has continued to practice what they learned and are sharing this knowledge with others.

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Tomato jam made by one of the participants following the tomato processing training