AGRICULTURE Minister Given Lubinda says Government has allocated US$115 million to develop 10,000 hectares of land under the irrigation development and support programme (IDSP).
Mr Lubinda said farming was one of the main sectors that contributed and promoted national development saying farmers were entrepreneurs that needed to be supported.
He said the funds were aimed at empowering small scale farmers in the country in order for them to work efficiently and contribute to national development by producing enough for export purposes.
Mr Lubinda was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the economic panel discussion on agriculture in Zambia.
The discussion is part of a series of economic panel discussions the U.S. Embassy and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) Center are holding to support Zambia’s economic growth and prosperity.
“Small scale farmers have the potential to boost the agriculture sector in Zambia and government will ensure that it invests for them to get the support they need for the country to develop, “Mr Lubinda said.
He said government had the capacity to regulate the economy using the instrument of exports and that the empowerment of farmers would promote exports.
Mr Lubinda said government is currently discussing with some foreign investors to come on board and promote the agriculture sector in the country.
He appealed to the private sector to participate in the empowerment programmes by closely working with government to promote national development.
Speaking at the same event, American ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said the current economic situation in the country was an opportunity for Zambia to promote herself.
“Zambia is in a crisis mode, this means we have many opportunities to show the world that we can make it. Let’s make use of what we have now, “he said.
Mr Schultez noted that helping the private sector develop would increase the pace at which the country was growing positively.
He said agriculture was one of the largest sectors in the country and that making efforts to promote farmers products was good for the country.