Building climate resilience with small scale farmers
We support small-scale farmers to grow climate resistant crops that put food on the table even during times of drought.
Planting unfamiliar crops can naturally make farmers apprehensive, which is why we believe drought-resistant crops have not been widely adopted to date.
We offer interested farmers direct e-cash transfers as incentives to mitigate the perceived financial risk associated with an unfamiliar crop. We also provide seeds and training.
Since 2019, we have supported over 600 Zambian farming families to grow sorghum, a drought-resistant African grain that was a staple in Zambia before corn (maize) was introduced.
During the most adverse rainfall shortage, corn crops experienced widespread failure, while the sorghum thrived. That season, 86% of our farmers experienced an increase in household food security as a result of growing sorghum.
See what the farmers had to say about growing sorghum in their own words in the video above.
The AgRI team was co-founded by Pio Mwanza and Mark Brown. The two first met working for the Nyimba District Farmers Association in Zambia in 2008. Since then they have worked in agriculture and social finance in Zambia, Ghana, and Canada.
Pio is an expert in tropical agriculture with over twenty five years of farming experience in Zambia. He has seven years of experience as a project manager and agricultural extension officer with COMACO and the Nyimba District Farmers Association, where he served as Secretary for the Kacholola branch.
Pio holds a Diploma from the Natural Resources Development College (University of Zambia) in Food and Nutrition, and a Certificate in Agricultural Science from Twin Fountain Agricultural Institute.
Mark has worked and consulted in agriculture and social finance for the last nine years. He has started and raised an agricultural investment fund in West Africa, structured social impact bonds for the United Nations Development Programme and Government of Ontario and has worked assignments for clients including Renewal Funds, Blue Skies Holdings, Tapestry Capital, Oxford Seed Fund, Engineers Without Borders, Viamo Mobile and ACDI/VOCA.
Mark holds an MBA with a focus in Social Finance from University of Oxford, where he was a Rotary Global Scholar, and a BSc in Earth and Ocean Science from the University of Victoria.
Donations you make are tax deductible and help power our efforts for crop resilience and food security across Zambia