MINISTER of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda says agriculture has enormous potential to be the engine of Zambia’s economy if well harnessed.
Mr Lubinda said in Kitwe that the agricultural sector is key to the creation of decent jobs and acceleration of national economic development.
He said Government has identified agriculture as one of the key productive sectors that can contribute significantly to the transformation and sustainability of a strong economy.
He said the delivery of over 14,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser under Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP) to all parts of the country demonstrates Government’s commitment towards the development of the agricultural sector.
He said Government has taken steps to diversify the economy in order to reduce dependence on mining, which is currently the mainstay of the country’s economy.
“The agricultural sector is one sector that can contribute significantly to economic growth of the country and reduce poverty, especially in rural areas,” Mr Lubinda said.
He also encouraged farmers to not only concentrate on growing maize but ensure they grow a variety of drought -resistant crops in view of the unpredictable rainfall pattern.
He said Government will do its part in overcoming challenges that hinder the agricultural sector from achieving its full potential.
He said young people should also venture into farming rather than just looking for jobs in the formal sector.
Government increased the budgetary allocation to agriculture from K3.5 billion in the 2014 national budget to more than K4 billion in 2015.