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Community Markets For Conservation Programme (COMACO) Phase II: appraisal of the proposal to the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Lusaka, Zambia

18 / 01 / 2010, Eldis Biodiversity

This paper reviews the proposal for a Phase II of the Community Markets for Conservation Programme (COMACO) in Zambia. The programme is seen as a tool to offer poachers and charcoal burners incentives for abandoning illegal activities to protect wildlife and biodiversity through improved farming technologies and access to agricultural markets.The paper notes that COMACO is well staffed with highly dedicated and talented employees, also willing to work in remote areas. Phase 2 of the programme emphasises improved food security and poverty alleviation. The paper finds the proposal for a Phase 2 of the programme is generally well argued and appears to fit with current Norwegian development assistance policies on food security and poverty alleviation, also in rural areas. However, it suggests a number of points to be considered in a revision of this proposal:

there is a need for improved administrative clarity of the functioning of COMACO as a legal personality, and its legal ability to receive funding
the approach carries substantial risks, both in the farming technologies proposed, in the production processes, and in the marketing segment
more attention should be paid to agronomic detail, including planting densities of rice and maize
the proposal is somewhat under-defined with respect to sociological impacts of its business model
concern about HIV/AIDS and other communicable and vector-borne diseases have not been covered.

The paper recommends that following this revision the Norwegian government should seriously consider the proposal for full funding.

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