GOVERNMENT is to open 1 million hectares of land for agricultural purposes as well as job creations among the youths across the country.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Given Lubinda said when he officiated at AgriProFocus Agri-Business Finance Fair at golf course in Chipata yesterday that the Government was intending to open up agricultural blocks in all the provinces like Nansanga agricultural block in Central Province with the view to create jobs among the youths and increase food production of the country.
The minister said the opening up of the 1 million hectares of agriculture activities would enable the Government to feed the larger population through the increased in the food production.
The minister said the Government would reduce unemployment levels after the opening up of farming blocks in the country.
Mr Lubinda also said the country needs to double up of the food production by 60 percent before 2060.
The agriculture and Livestock Minister who was accompanied by his deputy Maxas Ngónga said there was need for farmers to double up the food production and meet the demands of 60 percent of the food production by 2060.
The minister said it was approximately that 8 million Worldwide were suffering from hunger stating that there was need for the farmers to double up the food production in order for the country not to face the food deficit as the population was increasing.
“Approximately 8 million people are starving from hunger and as a country we need to meet 60 percent of food production by the year 2060,”he said.
He called for the crop diversification by the farmers in order to increase the food production in the country.
He also warned farmers against exporting maize to other countries stating that the farmers should follow the rightful procedure in exporting the maize through obtaining export permit.
He explained that the Government of President Edgar Lungu was putting effort to the empowering of the farmers through agriculture sector.
Mr Lubinda said the Government would also put up hammer mills in all the ten provinces.
Speaking earlier AgriProFocus country coordinator Claire Van Der Kleij said the Zambia’s agricultural sector was crucial for the development of the country.
Ms Kleij said all the stakeholders in the agricultural sector have a role to play saying AgriProFocus Zambia aims to improve collaboration between different actors in agricultural value chains by establishing business connections.
She explained that 520 have joined the Agri Pro Focus Zambia and appealed to communities to join the network.
She said the AgriProFocus was aiming to double up the network membership to 1,000.
“AgriProFocus Zambia provides the agri-business forum with a wider network, innovative opportunities and expertise which support us to provide more sustainable quality services to our members,”Ms Kleij said.
And Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) country operations manager Bwali Ndau said the Zambia agriculture sector comprises mainly the small scale farmers in the rural areas who faces an array of obstacles that inhibit their optimum participation in the Zambian economy.
Mr Ndau said farming entails long cycles of production which require upfront investment in animals,equipment,seeds,fertilisers and other inputs.
He however said small scale farmers were facing problems securing access to credit and were not often served by traditional financial institutions.
He said many small scale farmers were managing their businesses informally and frequently do not have records or financial information that banks require for lending.
He said only an estimated 400,000 smallholder farmers were linked to formal markets in Zambia.
Meanwhile Chipata’s Finance Bank Limited Branch Manager Anderson Zulu said the farmers should start saving to enable them get inputs on time.
Given Lubinda comes off as a very trustworthy and genuine politician. Focused on his job and rarely gets involved in any petty (political) mudslinging.
Good job Zayelo.
This is a BS — all this land is most likely already taken up by politicians.
Tell us how to access this land. All we hear is “land is available here or there, pay 150 application fee and we will call you”.
It is ba PF and their counterparts from China to benefit. tekumona utumasuti kuli Chama
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