The Luangwa Valley is Zambia’s icon for the country’s great wildlife heritage. It supports the largest hippo population on the continent and among the largest elephant and carnivore populations in Africa. It is vast. Much of it is unspoiled beauty, locked away in national parks for current and future generations to see and marvel at.
It is also part of an ecosystem that increasingly shows signs of damage from the relentless pressures of human activities, largely unsustainable farming and land clearing activities, made worse by the wrong crops and markets. It is this nexus between farming and conservation that will continue to challenge many such wild places in Africa.
Luangwa Valley has become a living laboratory where the COMACO approach was born to address such problems and find solutions. In this living laboratory, COMACO is testing the critical premise that small farmers can be allies and not adversaries to conservation with the right combination of farming practices, inputs, market incentives, and community leadership.
It is also COMACO’s premise that this approach over time is not only the most cost-effective way to sustain conservation results but is the only way to achieve a lasting solution for wildlife conservation in Africa.