Adaptation to the effects of drought and climate change in Agro-ecological Zone 1 and 2 in Zambia


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Project ID

Project Title

Adaptation to the effects of drought and climate change in Agro-ecological Zone 1 and 2 in Zambia


Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Lead Organization(s)

Project Partners

  • LDCF
  • Meteorological Service
  • Ministry of Agriculture


Total: $4,000,000;

Sources of Financing: LDCF


2008 - 20011



Project website(s)




Zambia is already dealing with the early impacts of climate change. Since the late 1980s, there has been a tendency for the later onset and earlier withdrawal of rains, as well as more frequent droughts. In the last seven years of this decade, Zambia has had droughts in the rainy seasons of 2000/01, 2001/02 and 2004/5. Floods are becoming more widespread too: over half of Zambia’s districts were affected in the last few years – 2005/6, 2006/7 and 2007/8 being the most recent - some for the first time in history. The impacts of these droughts and floods have been severe: crop failure, outbreaks of human and animal diseases, displacement of human populations and destruction of property and infrastructure. In 2004/5 and 2006/7, the affected population sizes were 1.2 m and 1.4m people respectively.

This LDCF project supports climate-resilient water management and agricultural practices, primarily focused on the very vulnerable southern regions. The project’s basic starting point is to improve the capacity to supply and use climate risk information for seasonal climate risk management. An early warning system is already in place to communicate climate risk information to the Ministry of Agriculture, but has two key weaknesses: a) outreach to farmers, water managers, extension officers and other relevant stakeholders (including packaging the information in an accessible format) b) the links between the Ministry of Agriculture and the District authorities. Generally, the project seeks to support the expansion of irrigation in face of the reduced reliability of rainfed agriculture. Pilot areas will serve the purpose to test feasible irrigation systems, and land management practices to favour underground recharge in support of sustainable water supply for irrigation; and to look into feasible agricultural diversification options.

The project addresses each of these barriers and works to improve the capacity to conduct and apply climate risk assessments to planning processes through the following activities:

  1. Working with the Meteorological Service, Ministry of Agriculture, and other relevant government ministries and research institutions to improve seasonal weather forecasts in order to reach a satisfactory level of predictive skill for

application by decision-makers, government planners, and farmers;

  1. Training farmers, agricultural planners and water managers to use climate information in water and land management practices;
  2. Adapting early warning systems so that they communicate climate risk information effectively to user groups.
  3. Conducting an economic impact assessment of the adaptation value of using climate risk information to adapt agricultural planning. Building on this platform of improved quality climate information disseminated and packaged to relevant stakeholders, the project implements local adaptation pilots in the agriculture and water management sectors including, among others, technologies to capture and store rainfall, soil protection techniques, water conservation techniques,

and test planting of climate resilient varieties. The pilots demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of different adaptation options, and subsequently measure yields, income changes, transaction costs and acceptability by farmers, with a view to making the case for planning, policy and budgetary adjustments.

Expected Outcomes

Outcome 1: Climate change risks integrated into critical decision-making processes for agricultural management at the local, sub-national and national levels.

Outcome 2: Agricultural productivity in the pilot sites made resilient to the anticipated impacts of climate change

Outcome 3: National fiscal, regulatory and development policy revised to promote adaptation responses in the agricultural sector.

Outcome 4: Lessons learned and knowledge management component established.

Achievements: Results and Impact

Lessons for Replication



See also

  1. Strategic Action Programme for the Integrated Sustainable Management of the Congo river Basin
  2. Partnership Interventions for the Implementation of Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for Lake Tanganyika

External Resources


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