Nancy Nosiku Nyambe
“Don’t be afraid....be focused, be determined, be hopeful, be empowered, be fundable and be bankable”
My name is Nancy Nosiku Nyambe, although I can safely say that Agriculture is my middle name. Over the years I have developed a keen interest in Agriculture, both field crops and livestock. Being in university and gaining extra knowledge, doing laboratory practical’s, school group discussions, attending seminars, taking part in agriculture and science workshops and also research work has seen me grow in the agricultural sphere and all these aspects have been a ladder to get to where I currently am today and where I see myself going. My vision is to start up an agri-business company and rear livestock such as cattle, goats, pigs and chickens (broilers and layers).
I am a 5th year student at the University of Zambia pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Science (plant science major). I was born on the 30th of July, 1997. I have been raised by my father Mr. Vincent Nyambe as I lost my mother in 2011 and I have 2 siblings. I was born and raised on the Copperbelt province in Ndola, Ndeke Township, Zambia. I did my secondary school at Kansenshi Secondary School (2012-2014) and in 2017 I was enrolled at the University of Zambia, School of Natural Sciences where I was quartered in the School of Agriculture Science.
My research interests are centered on Hydroponics Soil-less Farming. This is a type of farming that does not use soil but instead uses air, water, warmth and 16 elements that are essential for plant growth. With this technique of growing plants, the plants are placed in a water solution that is rich in nutrients (Figure 1). The roots of the plants come into direct contact with the nutrient-rich distilled water solution. With this method of farming plants/crops grow at a faster rate compared to farming using soil. The growth of the plants are seen within 6 days without any hindering factors such as nematodes (round worms), soil bacteria or soil toxicity.
Figure 1: A simple spinach hydroponic set up.
Currently, I am making an evaluation of rice (Nerica-4) mutants derived lines radiated at different doses of gamma rays of tolerance of different phosphorus levels. Nerica-4 (sometimes called N-4) is a rice variety, of which NERICA means New Rice for Central Africa. This type of rice was first grown in Central Africa and later spread around Africa for improvements. It was developed by an organization called Africa-Rice by crossing Asiatic rice (Oryza sativa) with African rice (O. glaberrima) during the years 2000 to 2006. N-4 was introduced in Zambia as it is capable of surviving for three weeks without water and grows well in low moisture level upland conditions.
Figure 2: Nerica 4 (N-4) rice
My research intends to find out the best PH level to use when growing rice using hydroponics. I further want to help small and large scale farmers adopt the use of hydroponics and make it more recognised across Zambia. Another one of my main reasons for conducting this research is to provide a more efficient source of fodder for livestock as I often think to myself, “there are always plants without livestock but there would be no livestock without plants.” As a final year plant scientist, I aspire to implement good feeding formulas for livestock, and hydroponics can be a major key to this being achieved with fodder crops being harvested within 2 to 3 weeks and having a high nutrient content. This will ensure healthy livestock and boost the business of livestock farmers.
Figure 3: Nancy working on rice transplants growing in solution
Aside from my interest in agricultural research, I also have a passion for farming. One of the 2021 agricultural activities I have set in motion is the growing of soy beans and yellow maize and this time around I am renting my own land as opposed to using my Father’s land. I further run a small business where I sell different types of beddings (fleece blankets, bed sheets and duvets) as well as female cosmetics such as powder, lipsticks, shower gels and perfumes. I love what I do, it allows me to make my own money and be able to sustain my small needs. Business has also built my marketing and communication skills.
I found out about ZaWARD in 2018 when I was in 2nd year. I attended one of the seminars where Madam Mutibo and the team were giving insights about what ZaWARD is and in 2020 I was fully informed about it and it matched my interest and I felt that it protected my vision. Through ZaWARD I have learned that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to and as such I am not afraid to dream because one day those dreams will become reality.
To the person reading this allow me to leave these words echoing in your mind and hopefully they will inspire you just as they inspired me and possibly give you the extra push towards attaining your goals as well as give you a different perspective with regards to measuring your success. “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” Michelle Obama.