The time has come to transform the Agriculture sector for the benefit of the Zambian people - President Lungu
President Edgar Lungu has declared that Zambia must transform the agriculture sector for the benefit of the people. Lungu noted that Zambia has the potential not just to feed its people through the agricultural sector but Africa as a whole. He believes there is a need to take pragmatic action to realise this potential and the only time that can be done is now.
This announcement was made in Mumbwa yesterday, as the President officiated at the National Harvest Day held at Mabeba Farm. President Lungu has implored the Ministry of Agriculture and the Zambian National Farmers Union to ensure that farmers grow enough maize by suggesting a target of 5 million metric tonnes of maize production next year.
The Head of State said he is happy that farmers will this year start receiving their inputs as early as September. Giving each farmer the time to undertake their agricultural activities. Early delivery of inputs coupled with detailed information on climate-smart agriculture will contribute towards adequate agricultural production.
The President noted that it is very important to use events such as the National Harvest Day to reflect on what should be done to improve the agriculture sector in the country. Lungu also indicated that from what has been witnessed at Mababe Farm in Mumbwa, it is clear that climate-smart agriculture is the solution to good harvests in the region. Farmers required the best practices to mitigate climate change effects.
Lungu further reiterated his directive to ensure that the maize prices are fair enough to cover the cost of maize and allow farmers to make a decent profit. The Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo noted that the early distribution of inputs will enable farmers to plant on time and have better yields. Katambo stated that currently the crop yield is at 1.2 metric tonnes and has encouraged farmers to adopt good agriculture practices to increase the yield. He added that his ministry continues to engage the Ministry of Finance to clear outstanding debt owed to Agro dealers across the country and that mechanisms are being put in place to ensure they are paid on time during the 2019/2020 farming season.
It is incredibly important for farmers to embrace new farming technologies to help the government achieve competitive and sustainable agriculture that will contribute to the economic growth of the country.