Historical Background of the Station
Formerly a Tobacco Research Center established in the 1950's housing curing infrastructure (barns and storage sheds), sales floor, offices, garage, and a soil and plant laboratory. By government promulgation it shifted from Tobacco Research in the early 80's to include other commodity teams conducting research on crops, farming systems and soils excluding tobacco altogether. However in 2007 by Ministerial pronouncement Tobacco Research was re-introduced as a researchable area and is expected to become one of the activities from 2008 onwards.
Weather, vegetation and soil conditions
Rainfall distribution is quite favorable for most crops. However drought does occur occasionally. The vegetation is predominantly Miombo and the soils are sandy.
The station has 17 offices, a conference room, a workshop, 9 tobacco barns and 2 shades, 1 library room and about 60 housing units.
Research teams are involved in both on-station experiments and demonstrations, and off-station activities. All teams consist of a professional and technical staff. The station works in collaboration with international research organizations like CIYMMT, ICRAF, ICRISAT and local institutions such as University of Zambia (UNZA), Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), and a number of farmer organizations.
There are six research sub-programmes namely - Sorghum and Millet, Soil Survey, Fibre Crops, Food Legumes, Farming Systems and Tobacco.
3.1 Farming Systems
To promote household food security through on-farm processing
Demonstrate on-farm processing of sunflower (to make cooking oil), Groundnut (peanut butter, soups etc), Cassava (chips and flower), Rice etc
To promote food security through crop diversification at farm level
Encourage growing of more that one crop in each season so that food security is attained through provision of varied diets for the household first and then as a nation as a whole.
To foster farmer participation in agricultural research
Work together with farmers from problem diagnosis to farmer recommendation, taking deliberate steps to balance gender, problem sharing among and between farmers and researchers.
To assess the social economic viability of developed technologies.
Influence farmers reasoning in choosing the technology to adopt by way of considering social and economic implications of new technologies.
3.2 Fibre Crops
To conduct relevant research in Kenaf/ jute agronomy in order to generate and adapt appropriate production technologies
Continuation of Kenaf variety trials to determine the performance of new selection from the available germplasm in terms of fibre and seed yields.
To conduct fibre field technology tests in order to maintain the quality of Kenaf/ jute fibre for industrial use
Multiplication and selection of Kenaf and jute varieties.
3.3 Food legumes
To conduct relevant research in food legumes (soybean/ cowpea) in order to generate and adapt appropriate production technologies
To release a new soybean and cowpea variety every two years
To produce enough breeders seed (soybean and cowpea) for further multiplication by farmers.
To conduct relevant research soil fertility and land evaluation in order to generate and adapt cost effective soil management technologies.
Improving organic matter content in regional soils by use of agroforestry and green manures.
Crop yield validation studies on regional soils
Recommending suitable fertiliser blend levels for regional soils.
Laboratory rehabilitation and soil testing.
Survey of farm lands and promoting judicious soil resource use.
3.5 Sorghum and millet
To develop appropriate and cost effective cultivation packages for farmers.
Improved and cost effective sorghum and millet production through adapted varieties and better pest and soil fertility management
To develop appropriate and cost effective cultivation packages for tobacco farmers.
Improved and cost effective seedling production through demonstration of seedling production in float trays
Improved and cost effective tobacco production through improved use of nitrogen and adapted varieties.
Cost effective source of firewood for curing through better tree establishment within farms.
Kabwe Research Station is located about 8 km north of Kabwe town in the medium rainfall region of Zambia, on a 140 hectare farmland commonly representing typical soils of Central Province. The Research centre is easily accessible from the Main Kabwe-Kapiri road known as the Great North Road (GNR) by a 400m gravel road. Ample research farmland is found north of the offices, while the south western portion of the station has become a school development area. The area is located between 28°29E, 14°23S and 28°30E, 14°24S.
Kabwe Research Station