The government through the Ministry of Agriculture in Samfya district of Luapula province says it is committed to boosting cassava production by introducing new cassava varieties to boost yields by farmers.
Samfya District Senior Agricultural Officer Matthew Ndakasha said the ministry is also doing its best to sensitise farmers on new cassava cultivation methods.
As the Ministry of Agriculture through the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) has introduced new cassava varieties that have seen farmers recording better harvests in the district.
“The introducing of new cassava varieties like Mweru and Bangweulu has been positive as farmers can now produce 20 tonnes per hectare as compared to before the new cassava varieties were introduced were they used to produce 8 tonnes per hectare,” he said.
The Senior Agricultural Officer says the ministry is also training farmers in better ways of cultivating cassava and introducing them to better agronomic practices.
And a cassava grower Eugenia Bwalya of Katapa Women’s Development Group says the government should not relent in helping women in farming.
“The government must continue supporting us as women in order to change the welfare of our families,” she said.
Africa is the world’s largest cassava producing region and accounts for nearly 55 percent of the world’s cassava. However Africa’s yields are the lowest in the world standing at only 10 tonnes per hectares compared to 26 tonnes per hectare in India.
Cassava is one of the most grown crops in Samfya with almost every household growing the crop. Therefore it goes without saying that cassava will for a long time remain a major food security crop in Samfya.
By Jonas Miselo,
NAIS in Samfya District.