Hivos commissioned SMI to conduct a comparative true cost assessment for intensive, conventional maize production versus sustainable maize production systems in Zambia’s Central Province. SMI modelled the cost-output ratio of two representative farming systems and identified farming practices that would improve long-term food security and soil fertility in the region.
Zambia’s central province experiences high levels of food insecurity and declining soil fertility from unsustainable farming practices. Through a combination of field visits and the SMI TCA-Business method, we modelled the expected long-term productivity of conventional versus organic maize production systems.
The results of the study showed that the costs per kilo of conventional production increase more than organic over ten years and experience a higher level of volatility.
These results helped Hivos to understand which farming practices are most sustainable and profitable for farmers. Hivos can now implement more effective programs to increase food security and maintain soil fertility in Zambia.