How Poverty Alleviation Efforts Manifest among Smallholder Groundnut Farmers in Eastern Zambia

  •  David T. Dillon    
  •  Joshua A. Crosby    
  •  Alyson G. Young    


Poverty alleviation and health promotion programs have become part and parcel of life in rural Zambia. It is critical to track the performance of these programs to assess the impact they have on the people involved. The purpose of this study is to ascertain barriers, specifically related to market access and crop yields, faced by smallholder groundnut farmers in Eastern Zambia following implementation of the PROFIT+ program. Focus group discussion and informants were selected based on participation in the PROFIT+. Interview data were then qualitatively analyzed to determine consistent themes among farmers. Farmers highlight three general barriers/risks that impacted both their economic well-being and health. In some cases, these barriers may act as feedback loops, health affecting economic productivity and vice versa. These include (a) a lack of adequate storage facilities (b) exposure to aflatoxins produced by the Aspergillus fungus (c) and exposure to pesticides due to a lack of personal protective equipment. Generally, groundnut farmers have benefitted from the efforts of PROFIT+, though challenges remain. Farmers consistently report increased their crop yields; however, access to outside markets has yet to materialize. Exposure to both aflatoxins and pesticides are concerning, particularly in areas of high stunting rates as these chemicals may exacerbate the effects of malnutrition. Further, changing weather patterns in the context of climate change increase issues faces by smallholder farmers.

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