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The Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show which is organized by the Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia (ACSZ) is the Country’s premier annual show held in the capital city, Lusaka, for five days ending on Farmers Day, a public holiday observed on the first day of August.

The show is the climax of the district and provincial agricultural shows, which are held in the proceeding weeks. Although the focus is on agriculture products grown by small-scale farmers many other entities exhibited at the show.

Exhibitors at the show have over the years included not only local companies and organizations but from other countries also. Some notable foreign participants include China, Egypt, South Africa, Botswana and many others. Over the years the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show has become a regional meeting place for investors and business people from around southern Africa looking for opportunities and development.

The 2017 91st Agriculture and commercial show of Zambia was this year commissioned under the theme “Promoting a Green Economy”. Caritas Zambia participated under a domesticated theme”125 years of promoting a green Economy” .Under this theme, Caritas Zambia showcased its focus on promotion of sustainable farming methods such as sustainable organic agriculture which is friendly to the needs of nature. At the same time Caritas Zambia displayed how it advocates for formulation and implementation of policies that protect the environment and create awareness among communities on the need to protect the environment.

Through its exhibition, Caritas Zambia showed how it promotes honest and open dialogue with policy makers to raise awareness on the need to take care of the environment even under this great push for development. Empowering citizens to meaningfully engage in environmental protection activities and reconnect them to nature. Caritas Zambia aims at protecting natural resources in a sustainable manner by communities through the promotion of the following practices;

AGRO-ECOLOGY: a sustainable and ecological type of agriculture with low external input and centres of food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging the natural environment and resources

SUSTAINABLE LAND USE MANAGEMENT:   through practices and technologies that aim to integrate the management of land, water, biodiversity, and other environmental resources to meet human needs while ensuring the long term sustainability of ecosystem services and livelihoods.

FARMER MANAGED NATURAL REGENERATION: a reforestation technique aimed at systematic regeneration and management of trees and shrubs from tree stumps, roots and seeds, and contribute to the restoration of degraded forests.

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: protection of ecologically sensitive areas, habitats and species in a sustainable manner

CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION; through the incorporation of nature based and traditional knowledge solutions into strategies for reduced contribution to climate change impacts. Agro forestry:  for co-delivery of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change and Socio-environmental benefits of agro forestry should be considered in agricultural policies.

ENERGY EFFICIENT COOK STOVES and the sustainable use of RENEWABLE ENERGY.

Further, through its economic and social accountability programme, Caritas Zambia recognizes the importance of economic operations that contribute to the conservation of the environment and ecosystems. As part of its exhibit, Caritas Zambia recognized the fact that the extractive industry has significantly contributed to Zambia’s revenues, foreign exchange and employment. It contributes a staggering 70 percent of Zambia’s total export earnings. However, mining by nature is an economic activity that is averse to the environment. It leaves the land scarred with troughs after it is gone, can reduce air and water quality and in cases where dangerous minerals are mined, they can be harmful to the health of man, plants, animals and the land.

One thing drives Caritas as it looks at our national flag and contemplates on it, the green, which stands for natural vegetation, is far greater than the orange, which stands for the countries mineral wealth. Caritas therefore, endeavor to keep its priorities in line with the national flag especially in relation to environmental preservation.

The extractives industry may be the biggest contributing sector to the economy but it is a finite, wasting industry. Having that in mind the department has done several works in relation to mining

Advocacy work-In promoting green economy and ecological conservation is carried out through the EASP programme. Caritas Zambia has engaged in evidence based advocacy work. It has been working very strongly in North Western province through the Solwezi diocese in advocating for environment protection as the bulk of mining activities shift from the Copper belt.

In the wake of Uranium mining in Zambia, ESAP has continued to advocate for full disclosure of the mining of Uranium in the new Copper belt owing to the potential detrimental effects. The Catholic-run organizations demanded for a full disclosure of the mining of uranium in the province, saying the mineral was toxic and a threat to the wellbeing of people if not properly handled.

In a research on the impact of mining, on three cohorts in pre, post and active mining areas, there is a drive for the programme to use the experiences of post mining areas like Kabwe, (and active mining areas) that have borne the negative environmental brunt of mining operations to sensitize in pre mining areas about the potential negative impacts mines can have on the environment. As such the communities enter a social contract with mining companies with full knowledge of the potential negative impacts mineral exploitation can have on their environment and thus demand for environmentally friendly business practice.

ESAP has also worked on empowering communities in North Western province with the power to hold mining companies to account in the event of water pollution by means of water testers. This is based on an evidence based approach, grassroots driven advocacy and change.

In looking at life beyond mining and indeed sustainable development, ESAP has been calling for the government to critically look at the Environmental Protection Fund of 1998 that was enacted in 2008. Caritas Zambia has noted with concern that the 2015 Zambia Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative report, none of the mines (large, small or artisanal mines) contributed to the fund.  This makes sad reading as the fund is meant to rehabilitate the mining site if the mine fails to do itself post mining activities. Caritas is therefore calling for the fund to be reviewed and to be sternly enforced to ensure life goes on beyond mining.

The 2017 show for Caritas, ended in style as they scooped a prize in the best NGO exhibit category, 2nd place.

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About CARITAS Zambia

CARITAS Zambia is a Catholic Organization that is an integral structure of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC). The Episcopal Conference (or Bishops Conference) is a permanent grouping of Bishops of a given nation or territory that jointly exercises certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of their territory. This they do to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind

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