On January 12, 2022, Barbara Hachipuka Banda, CEO of the Natural Agriculture Development Program Zambia from one of Shumei International key projects, participated in Keep Scotland Beautiful’s “Scotland Climate Festival.” This national event took place virtually addressing important climate issues such as protecting biodiversity and bringing together civil society to create a sustainable food ecosystem that benefits the planet and its people. Barbara presented on the panel on “Food: Women on the Frontline,” exploring the role of Zambia women farmers to create sustainable food systems using regenerative agriculture. The session was moderated by Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful and Barbara was joined by Nikki Yoxall, a regenerative agriculture farmer and educator in Northeast Scotland.
During this conversation, Barbara spoke about her 15-year journey with the Natural Agriculture Development Program Zambia (NAPZ) which started in 2005, in partnership with Shumei International and her extensive work with rural women farming cooperatives. Barbara expressed concern that the primary issue to tackle in Africa was poverty reduction, explaining that African countries needed to focus on building their agriculture industries as the majority of the population are farmers.
Specifically, working with Shumei, she introduced Natural Agriculture techniques to rural farmers, which were closely related to the indigenious and cultural practices of African farmers. This has helped to bring great independence to farmers who no longer have to rely on agro chemicals and store-bought seeds to cultivate their land. More importantly, Barbara shared the important work that Zambian women are doing with Natural Agriculture practices to improve their livelihoods, local environment and community, and the imperative to educate women from all ages. According to Barbara, “Women are a key part of the development of any country, any society and the world today as they play a larger and influential role in changing communities as whole because they act as the glue and the foundation, women are the forefront of disseminating knowledge to future generations.”
Barbara has represented Shumei International at international development conferences to advocate for rural women farmers and sustainable approaches to agriculture to address climate change, food security, gender empowerment and poverty reduction. She has spoken at the UN Sustainable Development Summit Rio+20 and several UN Climate Change Summits alongside experts from Biovision, IFOAM, Regeneration International and Savory Institute.
The full session “Food: Women on the Frontline” can be seen here.