Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with Indaba Agriculture Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has created renewed political and social interest in the cassava value chain.
Speaking at a workshop held in Lusaka, Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa said cassava is an important crop grown after maize by over 500,000 small scale rural households in the country.Mr. Shawa stated that the production and marketing of cassava helps to support the livelihood of farmers in the country because the crop is resilient to climate change.He said the growing of cassava is part of the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained growth and social – economic transportation driven by agriculture, mining and tourism. Mr. Shawna added that his Ministry considers cassava in the diversification agenda away from maize and other crops and can assist greatly in job creation. He further noted that government is looking forward to the prospects of blending cassava flour with wheat flour or maize meal with regards to the 2017/2018 agricultural season.
Speaking at the same event, Research Associate to Indaba Agriculture Policy Research Institute Stephen Kabwe said the farming of cassava is rapidly growing and will soon be grown country wide. Mr. Kabwe mentioned that cassava is apparently grown in some parts of the country like the north western province where the province has been ranked number four in terms of cassava production.
FAO together with IAPRI have recently conducted a study of the economy as well as the status of employment in various segments of cassava value chain.