Government says it is ready to promote the advancement of cassava growing by peasant farmers to commercial farming in order to enhance the living standards of the people.
Samfya District Commissioner Nason Bwalya says this is made evident by the strides that government is currently undertaking of holding small holder agri-business promotion programs meant to promote the cassava value chain development.
Speaking this morning in Samfya district of Luapula Province when he officiated two-day at the cassava value chain innovation platform workshop Mr Bwalya said cassava is an important crop grown widely in Samfya and Luapula province which should be encouraged as it improves household food security.
He disclosed that government is looking forward to working with partners like International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and see how cassava value chain can be enhanced and citing the formation of the Cassava Innovation Platform (CIP) in 2014 as a stepping stone.
Mr Bwalya added that cassava the Innovation Platform is a body that oversees the implementation of cassava promotion programs, adding that about 40 farmers in Shimalingu, Lubwe, Chibuye, Fibalala and Mwansakombe are actively growing cassava.
He said in inspiring cassava growing during the 2014/2015 planting season the platform received about 625 bundles of improved cassava cuttings from International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and 25 hectares was cultivated.
Mr Bwalya said that many farmers were trained in cassava processing and utilization, clean planting materials and improved varieties being used.
The DC further commended Senior Chief Kalasa Mukoso of the Kabende speaking people and Chief Mwansakombe for attending the Cassava Innovation Platform meeting.
Meanwhile, Cassava Project Coordinator under IITA, Pheneas Ntawuruhunga, said the aim of the forum was to reduce high poverty levels in homes and identify, analyse roles and contributions of stakeholders on cassava commodity value chain.
Mr Ntawuruhunga called on farmers to make applications which will enable them access grants and enhance their living standards.