The Finish government has contributed about 10 million Euros (K52 billion) towards the Program forÂ Luapula Agricultural and Rural Development (PLARD), a bilateral initiative by Zambia and Finland for the improved agricultural sector in Luapula Province.
At the launch of the program in Mansa last night, Finish Charge D’Affaires, Jorma
Suvanto said the PLARD program which would cover four years was aimed at supporting farmers in both Agro and Fishing sectors in Luapula.
Mr. Suvanto said Finland was committed to the development of an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector for increased income and food security in rural areas in line with Zambia’s and that country’s National Development Plans.
He said his government was dedicated to realizing the objectives of PLARD as evidenced from its past support spanning over 25 years to agricultural programs to alleviate the escalated levels of poverty in the province.
He called for collaborative management efforts of the program amongst all stakeholders.
And outgoing Luapula ProvinceÂ Minister, John Chinyanta, said the Zambian government had also contributed over K1 billion to the implementation of the program.
He warned all officers who would be involved in the implementation of the program
against misapplication of resources and equipment and to follow the program document
Mr. Chinyanta has also called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO)
which will be the implementing ministry to provide strategic support and strong
monitoring backing for PLARD to succeed.
And Mr. Chinyanta has said there was need for development of a robust agriculture
system in Luapula province that is not only based on rain but on irrigation as well.
He noted that the province had numerous water bodies which can provide for
sustainable irrigation for ensured food security in the area.
And PLARD program director Mighty Mpiya said the initiative was aimed at ensuring
development in four components, namely sustainable fisheries, agriculture
sub-sector, agribusiness and policy regulation and institutional environment
He said in the implementation approach there will be stressed focus on sustainable
commercialization of the agriculture and fisheries sub sectors based on market
driven interventions and private partnership in line with the agricultural
commercialization paper and the national agricultural policy and the Fifth National
Development Plan (FNDP).