iDE Global


iDE supports Zambia’s small-scale farmers through agricultural advice, smart water management, and mobile technology solutions to increase market access and, ultimately, farm household incomes.

New Irrigation System Inspires A Community

iDE powers thousands of Zambian farmers with demonstration plots

A 2015 report by Hystra, a global consulting firm that works with business and social sector pioneers to design and implement inclusive business approaches that are profitable and scalable, says it is important that development organizations identify the right farmers and “over-invest” in their farms through tailored and intensive support.

Read more: The Strengthening Farmer Incomes program has powered 15,000 Zambians

Climate Changes Farm Advisor's Message

Inutu Now Tells Farmers To Prepare For Drought

The rains didn’t come in November, as they used to. When they did begin in December, here in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, they didn’t last long.

“The drought has really impacted the farmers,” said Inutu Musialela, 53. “In February, it didn’t rain at all. In March, it did rain, but not until the last week.”

“Most of the crops were planted, like maize and sunflower. The rains started but then they went off. The farmers were hit with that. Their crops didn’t grow.”

Since Inutu began working with iDE in 2012, she says the local climate has changed significantly. As a Farm Business Advisor (FBA), Inutu has taught small scale farmers how to fertilize and protect their crops from pests.

Nowadays she spends just as much time teaching farmers how to become resilient to climate change, telling them to plant early maturing crops that require less water, or that they should plant a greater diversity of crops should some varieties fail.

“Because climate change has hit us now, I encourage them to prepare the land before the rains come.”

 “They dig holes, like a basin, to plant their crops inside. These potholes hold water around the roots. There they can grow soybeans, maize, anything.”

Read more: iDE has trained more than 300 FBAs across Zambia who leverage existing market players, such as suppliers and transporters, to increase small farm productivity, improving access to inputs for farmers and building links with commercial markets.

Microloans Help Zambian Farmers Cover Their Nuts

iDE Works With Communities To Establish Catalytic Savings And Loans Groups

Tryness Nsofwa, 57, proudly inspects her field of groundnuts. She uproots a clump of pods from the damp, red earth and is pleased with what she sees. Cracking open a husk to reveal edible fruit inside, Tryness notes the nuts are well formed and plentiful. “It’s looking very nice,” she says of her crop. “I will keep some for my family and I will sell some.”

Read more: iDE is working with 379 community savings and loans groups across six Zambian provinces

Why we’re here—

Over three-quarters of Zambia’s inhabitants are poor, and the country has one of the highest incidences of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, with many households having at least one member who is chronically ill. Geographical isolation and limited infrastructure are two factors precluding farmers’ access to markets. Government strategies are focused on driving diversified market-led growth, and many essential services, such as agricultural extensions and disease eradication campaigns, are under immense pressure due to lack of resources.

Peer-to-Peer Connections

Farm Business Advisor James Kaunda (right) chats with his client, Rodger Kabeyakabwebwe (left), after a tour of Rodger’s farm. Advisors are trusted peers who regularly visit their clients to help address problems.


(Photo by Chris Nicoletti/iDE)

What we do—

Created with sketchtool.

Resilient Market Ecosystems

For developing world entrepreneurs to succeed they must participate in market ecosystems that are economically competitive, inclusive of all people, and resilient to shocks such as conflict or changing climates. By listening to every stakeholder—producers, suppliers, retailers and customers—we can overcome critical bottlenecks and develop lasting solutions. 

Learn more about iDE’s approach to resilient market ecosystems.

Healing Markets

Market facilitation in Zambia

In Zambia, the major food crop and staple grown by small-scale farmers is maize. But maize doesn’t return enough profit for farmers to earn an adequate income. Zambia was a market in need of intervention.

Read more: Analyzing market weaknesses and addressing system failures to ensure connections for the poor

How We Do It —


iDE increases opportunities for small-scale farmers to expand food production and diversity. We recruit and train FBAs who reach rural farms in remote areas of Zambia with agricultural products, services, training, and advice. We are also piloting a solar-powered pump in combination with drip irrigation. An innovative approach to bring current market-price information to rural farms, called LimaLinks, was successfully piloted in 2015, and is now being implemented as a full-scale service with the support of Comic Relief UK.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to Agriculture.

Resilience to Climate Change

The majority of Zambia’s farmers practice traditional agricultural techniques, relying on rain for crop production, and are thus more vulnerable to climatic variations and environmental disasters.

iDE helps people in rural areas build their resilience to climate extremes like floods and drought through the use of climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Smart Technologies.

Gender Equity

Women in Zambia lack access to land, finance, technologies, and information, and thus are unable to participate equally with men, even though they are largely responsible for farming and household activities.

By focusing on women as customers and entrepreneurs, iDE strengthens their participation in rural value chains and increases their access to technology, know-how, finance, and markets.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Gender Equity.


Malnutrition in Zambia is caused by a combination of factors, including illnesses (diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and HIV/AIDS), intestinal parasites, and poor infant and young child feeding practices due to lack of resources or knowledge by caretakers.

iDE empowers farm families to grow more varied and nutritious crops, so that people have a more complete diet, fueling them with the energy and mental ability they need to be successful

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Nutrition.

Designing to context

If you want to solve the world’s problems, you have to be where the action is—and every location is different.

Read more: Thinking outside of the tomato box in Zambia


37N Leopards Lane
PO Box 32341
Kabulonga, Lusaka

Our partners—

  • African Agriculture Fund
  • Barrick Lumwana Mining Corporation
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Church of Latter-Day Saints Charities
  • Comic Relief
  • European Commission
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • FuturePump
  • Innocent Foundation
  • Ludwig & Miller Family Foundation
  • Mace Legacy
  • RLG International
  • Swedish International Development Agency
  • Syngenta Foundation
  • Techfortrade
  • Toro Foundation
  • United Nations Capital Development Fund
  • United Kingdom’s Department for International Development
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • Zylem