True cost of maize production in Zambia

In 2018, the development aid organisation Hivos wanted to understand which farming methods were most sustainable and profitable for farmers. We compared and evaluated the true costs and benefits of intensive conventional maize production with sustainable maize farming systems in Zambia’s Central Province.

This allowed us to identify agricultural practices that would provide long-term food security and improved soil fertility in the region.

True Cost Accounting in development aid can set the course for greater food security.
True Cost Accounting project details

Zambia’s Central Province suffers from high food insecurity and a decline in soil fertility. This is due to unsustainable agricultural practices. We have been assessing the situation and gathering the accounts of farmers.

Our experience from the field was combined with our True Cost Accounting method into a model. This enabled us to look at the expected long-term productivity of conventional maize cultivation in comparison to organic maize cultivation systems.

The result was clear: the costs per kilogram of conventional product increase at a higher rate over ten years and are more volatile in comparison to the organic product.

With this knowledge, Hivos can develop effective programmes to increase food security and maintain soil fertility in Zambia.

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