An economic analysis of agroforestry farming systems in Zambia: application of risk programming and risk-free modelling techniques
Richard C. Schultz
Declining soil fertility is one of the many problems facing Zambian agriculture today. The increase in permanent cultivation practices, combined with reduced forest fallow have contributed to the decline in soil fertility. In response to this state of affairs, farmers continue to increase the use of chemical fertilizers as a way of maintaining soil productivity;However, although production and productivity in the agricultural sector has increased over the years, small-scale farmers continue to register low productivity levels. Increases in agricultural production in the small-scale farm sector are mainly achieved by increasing land area under cultivation. For Zambia this means that forest lands are converted into agricultural production. This practice has contributed to the serious deforestation problems that are facing Zambia today;To arrest this trend, efforts are being made to disseminate technologies that help to increase agricultural production and productivity while simultaneously reducing environmental degradation. Agroforestry is one such technology. Research efforts in agroforestry (farming) systems in Zambia have increased since 1986. Major research work is currently underway at Chalimbana and Msekera Research Stations;This study attempts to develop a conceptual and methodological framework for economic analysis of proposed agroforestry systems for Zambia. Project appraisal techniques as well as mathematical programming techniques are used to analyze the farming systems. Risk is incorporated in the analysis through price and yield variations;Preliminary data from the agroforestry research stations are used in this study. The analysis indicates that agroforestry (farming) systems in Zambia are indeed economically viable.