Zambia is subdivided into 36 agro-ecological zones, each with its own characteristics. These
characteristics include: rainfall, length of growing period, occurrence of drought, minimum
night and maximum day temperatures during December to February, occurrence of frost in
the dry season (June to August), amount of sunshine during the dry season. The 36 zones
have been grouped up into 3 Agro-ecological regions mainly on the basis of rainfall.
Shibukwe Cooperative of Masaiti lies in Agro-ecological region III.
Agro-ecological region III – Masaiti
Masaiti is located in the Copperbelt province of Zambia with an approximate population of
95, 581 people. It is situated 257 kilometers North West (318°) of the approximate center of
Zambia and 239 kilometers north (3°) of the captial Lusaka. A 100 square kilometer area
around Masaiti has an aproximate population of 583455 (0.005835 persons per square meter)
and an average elevation of 1235 meters above sea levels.
This region is popularly known as the high rainfall area. This high rainfall area generally has
highly leached soils and is characterized by very strong acidity, severe aluminium toxicity,
low nutrient reserves and low nutrient retention capacity. Leaching thus leaves the soil
lacking in most major and some minor nutrients. The predominant vegetation is medium to
dense forests. The challenges here are diseases and pests in crop production. Average
temperature range is from 16-21 degrees Celsius and annual rainfall ranges from 1 000 to
1 500 mm. Region III is mainly a cassava growing area, and although maize is also grown
extensively, yields are limited by the acidic nature of the soils and loss of nutrients by
leaching during heavy rains. Coffee, pineapples, and rice are important cash crops.