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The pay is better than growing maize, she said, and gives her a proper chance to feed her four children. That weather phenomenon ended earlier this year, but drought persists across much of southern Africa. For many small-scale and subsistence farmers in the landlocked southern African country, longer spells of drought and increasingly erratic rains are becoming far more frequent.
The changing climate, combined with costly fertilizer and seeds, means agriculture is becoming less attractive for many. According to a United Nations Development Programme UNDP report, extreme poverty is estimated to be four times higher in rural areas than urban centers. The situation in the copper-producing country has not been helped by a drop in the kwacha against the dollar since April, as a result of depressed global commodity prices. The hardships have caused more and more people to migrate from rural parts to cities such as Lusaka, Kitwe, Livingstone and Chipata.
Others have moved to border towns. Lucy Bwalya, an academic at Cavendish University in Lusaka, said many women turn up in cities hoping to become traders, hawking clothes or groceries. However, a rising number turn to prostitution instead - risking arrest, violence and sexually transmitted diseases. To encourage more women to stay on their farms, Zambian charity Enviro Green has been teaching them to grow climate resistant crops such as sorghum, which require less water than the traditional staple, maize.
The women farmers are also taught farming techniques to conserve soil and water to minimize erosion and water runoff. Editing by Katie Nguyen and Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change.
Discover Thomson Reuters. Directory of sites. United States. World News. Whitney Mulobela. For some women, however, these efforts come too late.