The Poverty Lab


There are 600,000 small-scale farms and 5,000,000 people in Zambia who grow barely enough food to survive.  

Zambia has one of the lowest life expectancy in the world at just 63 years old.

Zambia must import 70% of the food needed to feed its people. 


This initiative will change the mindset of the small-scale farmer from growing a single crop (traditionally maize) to growing a diversified group of products including maize, cowpeas, tomatoes, honey, and chickens.  It protects the farmer from disaster if one product fails and creates year-round income for the farm.  We call this group of products the farmer’s Market Basket. 

PIA has launched the Zambia Poverty Lab whose core is product diversification. 

Man's Silhouette
Farming Leafy Greens
Bills and Coins

Zambia Country Manager

We have engaged a Zambia Country Manager to oversee all aspects of the poverty lab which include financial oversight, value chain structure, and consulting on crop selection and development. With the country manger providing ongoing expert assistance this will help to ensure the famer is successful in reaching their project goals.  

The farmer will receive ongoing training on improved farming techniques, water conservation and farm management. As each new product is added to the farmer’s Market Basket, the farmer will receive training on how to successfully grow the new product. 


To insure a “income guarantee” never before available, we have created a cooperative group of 50 small scale farmers. This cooperative structure enables us to negotiate pricing for purchasing farm inputs and selling farm outputs. 

Income Guarantee

In 2021 the Poverty Lab will be entering year two in the Namwala Region of Zambia.

 The primary crop in 2021 will be Cowpeas. Cowpeas require a smaller investment in input costs, have a shorter growing season, and have a higher market sales price. in year 2 the Poverty Lab farmers will grow one hectare of Cowpeas. 

Model of Impact


Each farmer receives a $1000 zero interest loan when they join The Poverty Lab.

The primary goal of The Poverty Lab is to grow farmer’s income through a diverse set of farming products.  

 For 2021, Partners in Action has established the Model Farm Program, with five farmers selected to participate.  

The farmers will grow three products with inputs provided by PIA.  Participants are required to keep a journal of planting, rainfall, prevalence of pests, and any other factors that impact the growing cycle.

This program will have two primary goals:

Small Plant

Each farmer will grow crops as follows:

1 ha cowpeas

½ ha maize 


¼ ha ground nuts 

Evaluate the crops suited to Namwala and the ability of a farm to produce income.

Planting Plants

  This includes future training in lessons learned and best practices.  

The Participants will provide Leadership and expertise to expand the Model Farm program.  

It is also expected that the Model Farmers will become leaders of local Cooperatives that will be established for 2022 to enable PIA to work with Zambia Government Programs that provide farm inputs to Cooperatives throughout Zambia.


Total income to the Model Farmer and how the Model Farm performs versus the hunger alleviation and poverty line income levels,


Effectiveness of crop production and income benefits through the introduction of cowpeas


Effectiveness of crop production and income benefits through the introduction of cowpeas 

Effectiveness of crop production for ground nuts and the opportunities for future program expansion in Namwala.

Ground Nuts 


Program administration cost management.

Change in year over year maize yield.

Year to Year


Output of crops in Namwala per hectare versus other areas of Zambia.

Sponsor a Farmer Family

We currently have 50 farmers who need $1000 to start farming their crops. 

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Partners In Action creates social impact by empowering humanitarian projects that focus on improving the lives of individuals in underserved communities around the world.

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