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.

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 matters—

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.

Food Security

Decades of agricultural support projects have left Zambian farmers over-reliant on government or unsustainable approaches. These practices have created fundamental disconnects in market systems and a culture of dependency at the small-scale level in particular.

iDE enhances farmers’ yields through access to technology, products, and knowledge, enabling them to sell affordable, nutritious food to local communities.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to Food Security.

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.

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

What works—

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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 global Agriculture strategy.

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Access to Finance

Supporting access to financial services in Zambian rural communities is particularly challenging. Low population density and extremely poor infrastructure, compounded by low productivity, make it difficult and expensive to offer loans to small-scale farmers. iDE develops creative solutions to this problem, such as establishing a financial guarantee mechanism that allows suppliers to provide farmers with seeds and fertilizer on credit, which farmers pay back when they sell their crops. We are training seed suppliers to build crop insurance into the price of their products, providing a safety net by enabling farmers to receive compensation if they lose a crop due to drought or floods.

Learn more about iDE’s global Access to Finance.

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
  • 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