CIFOR-ICRAF is working towards transformation of agricultural, forestry and wildlife-based value-chains to become more sustainable, climate-resilient and productive, while at the same time improve local livelihoods, food security, and biodiversity.


The Zambia for Agroforestry, Biodiversity and Climate Action (Z4ABC) is funded by the European Commission’s DeSIRA initiative, with co-funding from Finnish partners and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Partners include three Finnish research and higher education institutions, namely the Natural Resource Institute Finland (Luke), Viikki Tropical Resources Institute of the University of Helsinki (VITRI), and Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). Together they will provide expertise in facilitation, capacity building support, data collection and data analysis, as well as support to identify and implement relevant pilot actions. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with local partners (government, service providers, and local level implementing partners) and through a range of participatory stakeholder engagement activities such as multi-actor platforms (at the national, landscape, and local levels), and with actors along various parts of the value chains (particularly with the local communities, women and vulnerable groups).

Maimbo Malesu

Project Lead – Zambia for Agroforestry, Biodiversity and Climate


Approximately 80% of the population is directly dependent on natural resources for fuel, food, income, raw materials, and medicines



Overall objective

  • The overall objective of the action is to contribute to the development of climate-relevant, productive, and sustainable transformation of agriculture, forestry, and food systems in Zambia to help achieve the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)(see Figure 1).

Specific objectives

  • To improve livelihoods and climate change resilience of specific agricultural, agroforestry, forestry, and food systems in the Lower Zambezi–Luangwa–Nyika corridor
  • To increase the climate relevance of Agriculture and Knowledge Innovation Systems (AKIS) in the Lower Zambezi–Luangwa–Nyika corridor.

The action uses multi-disciplinary and participatory research and development activities to co-identify, co-develop, implement, and improve selected value chains, from primary production to market. The main research activities include baseline studies, co-identification, and assessment of improvement potential across the value chains, as well as participatory mapping and land-use scenario modelling sessions in selected landscapes. Pre- and post-pilot data collection will facilitate performance assessments of selected value chains and piloted innovations. The project will also assess trade-offs and synergies for the value chains’ different ecosystem services, livelihood outcomes and development pathways, to support the potential scaling up of the value chains supported.

The project Theory of Change presented in Figure 1 illustrates how the work falling under each of the project’s four main Outputs are expected to work together to contribute to DeSIRA’s specific objectives and overall objective. Key project activities include business and technical pilots of interventions in selected value chains to facilitate application of innovations in practice, and their potential up-scaling. Activities will support co-learning and capacity building through multi-actor platforms, training, awareness-raising campaigns, farmer field schools, and business incubation centres. Learning events at schools, universities and communities, multi-governance workshops, targeted dissemination, policy dialogues and cooperation programming will also be supported. The project will tailor capacity-building and awareness-raising activities to meet the identified local, territorial, and landscape-level needs, as well as to support local Agriculture and Knowledge Innovation Systems.


Project locations

The Z4ABC project will be implemented in Lusaka Province and Eastern Province in the Lower Zambezi – Luangwa – Nyika corridor, which stretches across central and eastern Zambia (see Figure 2 below).

Preliminary Landscape 1: Lusaka Province – Chongwe District

The landscapes in Lusaka Province are easily accessible and located close to major markets in Chongwe District and the capital city of Lusaka. Chongwe district has a relatively high poverty level, and has protected forest that is under pressure due to deforestation and encroachment driven by the need to expand rainfed agriculture and charcoal production for the Lusaka market. The Lower Zambezi National Park is also located in the district. The park is home to diverse wildlife biodiversity, which is under threat due to poaching, and the plans to introduce mining near the national wildlife park. Mixed agriculture is the mainstay of thousands of farmers. Climate change has negatively impacted food security due to frequent droughts in the past decade. Introducing agroforestry and other climate-smart agriculture practices has the potential to contribute to increased food production, agrobiodiversity, and diversified income and subsistence for smallholder-farmers. The opportunity to work with Lusaka Province government officials will likely create a more significant impact on policy and visibility of the project to the entire country of Zambia.        

Preliminary Landscape 2: Eastern Province

The project team selected Eastern Province because of the range of potential opportunities identified to develop value chains in agriculture, forestry, and wildlife-based enterprises in Lundazi and Mambwe districts. The region has a high concentration of poor communities; mainly smallholder farmers affected by climate change and the expensive cost of farm inputs. The North and South Luangwa National Parks and buffer zones are in the province, with several game management areas (GMAs) buffering wildlife parks and intensive smallholder farms. During stakeholder mapping, the project team discovered that many potential partners and previous and current relevant projects to build on are working in the province (e.g. Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project & previous work by SNV on agroforestry and forest-based VCs). The city of Chipata offers a vast market for products coming from the improved value chains. Being based in Chipata also creates high visibility and better interaction with the government for policy and technical support.   

Selected target areas and landscapes


Project team



CIFOR-ICRAF Administrator