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Community Markets for Food Security and Alternative Livelihoods (COMLIVE): A Case Study

Community Markets for Food Security and Alternative Livelihoods (COMLIVE): A Case Study

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Published by CAREZAMBIA
COMLIVE provided CARE/DFID with a unique
opportunity to strategically enhance a self-sustaining business model for rural development, linking private sector markets, organic agricultural production, alternative
livelihoods and natural resource management in a way that could effectively address the core needs of poor, vulnerable and food insecure families.
COMLIVE provided CARE/DFID with a unique
opportunity to strategically enhance a self-sustaining business model for rural development, linking private sector markets, organic agricultural production, alternative
livelihoods and natural resource management in a way that could effectively address the core needs of poor, vulnerable and food insecure families.

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Published by: CAREZAMBIA on Oct 03, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Community Markets for FoodSecurity and Alternative Livelihoods
 A Case Study
Social Protection A CARE International in Zambia Learning Product 2009CARE Zambia’s work in Social Protection
Since 2004, CARE Zambia has been working through aProgram Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the UK Government’s Department for InternationalDevelopment (DFID) to implement a number of SocialProtection projects, aimed at increasing the capacity of institutions and the most vulnerable in society to bettermanage risk associated with food insecurity, destitutionand HIV and AIDS.The PPA programme reflects CARE International’s visionwhich “
seeks a world of hope, toleranceand social justice where poverty has been overcome and peoplelive in dignity and security 
. An estimated 64% of Zambiansare poor, mostly living in ruralareas (Central Statistics Office2007) on less than US$ 1 perday. The PPA programme hasfocused on addressing thisthrough a Social Protectionagenda that supports both theachievement of MillenniumDevelopment Goals one, two and six,and the Government of Zambia’s FifthNational Development Plan (FNDP).In this context, CARE Zambia regards Social Protectionas a holistic approach to protecting and promoting thelivelihoods and welfare of vulnerable groups throughcoordinated policies and transfer mechanisms such ascash, physical resources, training and in-kindcontributions. The vulnerable groups targeted include:Low capacity households including widows, thedisabled, the old, and other marginalized, low-income households, and informal sector operators;Incapacitated households with no self-helppotential, including mainly households affected byHIV/AIDS;Child-headed households and street children As part of the PPA, a series of learning products havebeen developed as a means of sharing knowledge andpromoting greater understanding with a wide spectrumof stakeholders including policy makers, Government,donors, and civil society.
COMACO and CARE – Background to aPartnershipCommunity Markets for Food Securityand Alternative Livelihoods (COMLIVE)
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia (WCS) hasworked in the catchment areas of Lundazi and Chamadistricts in the Luangwa Valley, Eastern Province forover two years. This work resulted in the developmentof Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), aunique approach to addressing rural poverty andenvironmental degradation.In 2005, results from COMACO providedCARE/DfID with robust evidence thatthe problems of hunger, povertyand environmental conservationcould be solved locally. Thevulnerable and food insecurecommunities can bestructured to own, lead andparticipate in fair marketcommercial opportunities,which are financially self-sustaining andenvironmentally beneficial. Inaddition, COMACO furtherenhanced food security throughactively encouraging non-commercial foodproduction and allied income-generating activities.One of the specific mechanisms under the PPA is the
Partnership Fund for Project Grants (PF) 
 whereby CARE identified and supported specific NGOsin the implementation of projects which ‘seek to reducepoverty via increased local socio-economic security’.This CARE Case Study details the experiences of onesuch PF project, Community Markets for Food Securityand Alternative Livelihoods (COMLIVE), offering aconcise overview of its rationale, impact and bestpractices to date.COMLIVE specifically contributed to the empowermentof Low Capacity Households (LCHs), strengthening theirability to meet their basic needs via enhancement of household food security and livelihood opportunities.Given COMLIVE-COMACO’s wider remit inter-linkingcommercial and environmental interest with those of addressing basic needs, the Project provides an
 provided CARE/DFID with a uniqueopportunity to strategically enhance a self-sustaining businessmodel for rural development, linking private sector markets, organic agricultural production, alternativelivelihoods and natural resourcemanagement in a way that could effectively address the core needsof poor, vulnerable and food insecure families.
exemplary model for widening the basic concept of  ‘designing best-practice support mechanisms for LHCs’.Funding through COMLIVE helped strengthen anddevelop the over-all viability of the COMACOdevelopment model in a number of inter-linkedprogrammatic areas, all of which are key to its ongoingsuccess and sustainability.The goal for the project was to sustain community-wideliveable incomes and household food needs throughtrade incentives that drive land-use practicessupportive of well-managed natural resources setwithin a large, geographically rural, landscape. Activities:Increase numbers of Producer GroupsEstablish a Producer Grouporganisational structure andenhanced technical skills baseExpand numbers of extension trainers and theirtraining remitOutcomes:COMACO’s farming methodsand allied conservation andenvironmental objectives promotedand supported Poor, food insecurefamilies to achieve a sustainable production of diverse commodities that support food securityand increased income.Health and well-being, HIV-AIDS and genderissues are promoted at community & householdlevelsThe project focused on the key principles of;Markets drive land use practices and shape thelivelihood characteristics of rural communitiesFarmers unable to feed their families or meetbasic family needs are more apt to contribute tonatural resource degradation and becomeexploited by unfair trade practicesPrivate sector contributes to improved rurallivelihoods when local producers have a significantshare in the market guided by land use plans thatsupport natural resource managementPoverty and hunger contribute to broken families,increased health risks and dysfunctionalcommunitiesIn general, rural communities have a poorunderstanding of the longererm relationshipsbetween markets and natural resource
COMACO – The Key Principles
management and their influence on rurallivelihoodsThe contextual focus for this work was primarilycentred upon producer Groups (PGs), the communityfarming collectives which play a pivotal role in realisingproject objectives and outputs. Without active,committed and skilled PGs, COMACO’s commercial,food security and livelihood components, as well asrelated health, environmental and conservationinitiatives, could not be efficiently implemented, orsustained.COMACO’s strategies for implementing project activitiesrespond to the above principles, operating largelyaround a community shareholder-ownedcompany, the Conservation Farmer andWildlife Produce Trading Centre(CTC).The CTC draws its boardmembers from different levelsof society and professions,including the producersthemselves, to help fulfil theCTC’s mandate to build a betterlife for rural people around tradeand conservation. Board members andother collaborating partners; DistrictCouncils, Agriculture/Forestry/Health Departments,Community Resources Boards, Msekera AgriculturalResearch Station and others cooperate to developcommercially successful products from commoditiesproduced by the participating communities. Some of the cooperating partners also have shares in the CTC,providing an extra incentive to ensure the success of the project. The CTC funnels profits into communityshareholders and offers competitive prices for thesecommodities, providing producers adopt organicfarming and land use practices that lead to moresustainable solutions for income, food security, andconservation. Via a network of trading depots located in rural areas,producer group members market and receive directpayment for their produce.
Implementation Strategies – building aviable shareholder-owned cooperative
Social Protection
It’s Wild!
It’s Wild! It’s Wild! 
COMACO processes the organic crops its membersproduce into higher-valued packaged products withits own branded trademark label, , andmarkets them to high-end urban markets to helpleverage better producer prices. Currently demandfor products outstrip existing supply.
iscommonly said to exist when people at all times have physical, social and economic accessto sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” GRZ 5th National Development Plan, chapter 22,2005 
Food security 
Currently, COMACO produces and markets organicallycertified polished and brown rice, soya beans, honey,peanut butter, HEPS (High Energy Protein Supplement)and organic cotton.CTC depots are not just delivery points, they also serveas Partner Group community centres which providetraining in appropriate livelihood skills, health and well-being issues, whilst coordinating relevant informationabout market opportunities, prices, improved land usepractices and production technologiesIf the COMACO model of development is to besustainable it must become self-financing, itself dependent upon a number of synergistic links beingforged and successfully maintained - synergiesbetween beneficiaries, agriculture, markets, prices andnatural resource management, built-upon effectivegovernance structures that focus on benefitinghouseholds lacking basic income and foodrequirements.
CTC DepotsTowards a sustainable and self-financing model for rural development
 A CARE International in Zambia Learning Product
 A basic and proven tenet of the model isthat it is possible to forge such linkagesvia:
COMLIVE and Producer Groups –Strengthening and Enhancing theCOMACO Model
that encourage familiesto produce the right ecological mix of farmedcommodities for meeting both income and foodneeds
Business plans 
that achieve profitabilityneeded to sustain these incentives
Effective extension support 
guided by landuse plans to maintain increased yields of thesecommodities
An equitable power-sharing arrangement 
that unites Producer Groups intolocal cooperatives for improved representation ona company board with their trading anddevelopmental partners at the District level.  As already noted, a major aim of COMLIVE was to helpstrengthen the COMACO model of rural development by
Economic incentives 
COMACO economically benefits not only its primary members, but the wider community as well.Below, organic rice being cleaned and sorted prior to despatch at the main CTC depot in Lundazi by local women

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