Feature: Zambian youth receive free training in smart, sustainable agriculture-Xinhua

Feature: Zambian youth receive free training in smart, sustainable agriculture

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-30 20:53:30

Young people prepare freshly harvested vegetables for sale at People's Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ), a grassroots organization, in Chibombo District, central Zambia, April 17, 2024.(Photo by Lillian Banda/Xinhua)

by Lillian Banda

CHIBOMBO, Zambia, April 30 (Xinhua) -- In the presence of climate change and agricultural land becoming increasingly scarce, especially in urban areas, smart and sustainable agriculture practices such as hydroponics present opportunities for success.

Hydroponics, the growing of plants using a water-based nutrient solution, rather than soil, has been used to grow mostly higher-return crops.

It is for this reason that People's Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ), a grassroots organization, has been training young people in the innovative field of hydroponics free of charge. The trainees are trained to become trainers of trainers.

The organization has set a target of training about 100 youth in hydroponics and other sustainable agricultural practices by the end of this year, at its innovation center in Chibombo District, central Zambia.

According to the PPHPZ, the hydroponics training program not only addresses food security challenges but also opens doors to sustainable economic opportunities for youth and other vulnerable population groups.

Tracy Maya Siakachoma, a PPHPZ representative, said: "Our goal is to empower young people with knowledge and skills in hydroponics, enabling them to spearhead smart and sustainable food production ventures and economic growth in Zambian communities."

She said the PPHPZ has been overwhelmed with the response from young people interested in the hydroponics training program, which started last December.

"We are able to accommodate only 40 individuals at a given time. We hope to have another group of 40 youth as soon as the current batch is done," Siakachoma said.

Belina Phiri, a 23-year-old trainee, said: "The knowledge I am gaining here will enable me to venture into the cultivation of high-value crops and be self-employed."

Another trainee, 22-year-old Daniel Kasongo, said he is "eager to empower my peers with the skills and expertise I have gained through hydroponics training."

Hilary Mola, the lead trainer, said hydroponics offers a sustainable solution for crop cultivation, requiring minimal space and water while providing higher yields compared to traditional farming methods.

"It offers both economic and environmental advantages. Economically, hydroponics promotes higher crop yields, faster growth cycles, and efficient land utilization, leading to increased profitability for farmers," Mola said.

Environmentally, this method conserves water by reusing nutrient solutions, reduces the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, and minimizes soil erosion, making it a sustainable choice for agriculture, he added.