President Edgar Lungu says time has come for Zambia to transform the agriculture sector for the benefit of the people.
President Lungu has noted that Zambia has potential not just to feed its people through the agricultural sector but Africa as a whole.
The Head of State has further stated that there is need to take pragmatic action to realise this potential and the only time that can be done is now.
He was speaking in Mumbwa today when he officiated at the National Harvest Day held at Mabeba farm.
And President Lungu has implored the Ministry of Agriculture and the Zambia National Farmers Union to ensure that farmers grow enough maize by suggesting a target of 5 million metric tonnes of maize production next year.
The Head of State said he is happy that farmers will this year start receiving their inputs as early as September which will give farmers time to undertake their agricultural activities.
He said early delivery of inputs coupled with detailed information on climate smart agriculture will contribute towards adequate agriculture production.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has noted that it is important to use events such as the national harvest day to reflect on what should be done to improve the agriculture sector in the country.
The President indicated that from what has been witnessed at Mababe farm in Mumbwa, it is clear that climate smart agriculture is the solution to good harvests despite the droughts and that farmers need information on best practices to mitigate climate change effects.
President Lungu has further reiterated his directive to ensure that the maize prices are fair enough to cover the cost of maize and allow farmers to make decent profit.
And Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo, noted that the early distribution of inputs will enable farmers plant on time and have better yields.
Mr Katambo stated that currently the crop yield is at 1.2 metric tonnes and has encouraged farmers to adopt good agriculture practices to increase the yield.
He added that his ministry has continued to engage the Ministry of Finance to clear outstanding debt owed to Agro dealers across the country and that mechanisms are being put in place to ensure they are paid on time during the 2019/2020 farming season.
Meanwhile, Mumbwa District Farmers Association Chairperson, Austin Sinyachize, noted that the district is highly dependant on agriculture to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the people.
Mr Sinyachize said it is important for farmers to embrace new farming technologies to help government achieve competitive and sustainable agriculture that will contribute to economic growth of the country.
And Wisdom Mababe, the owner of the farm, said the harvest witnessed today has been as a result of understanding the effects of climate change coupled with the effective implementation of mitigation measures.
Mr Mababe noted that he planted maize during the drought that affected the Southern Part of the country including Mumbwa district.
He has since noted that it is important that farmers take interest in knowing and understanding the effects of climate change to enable them harvest enough crop without challenges.