President Edgar Lungu has called on agriculture extension staff to take their job seriously so as to help farmers improve on agriculture productivity.
President Lungu speaking during the national crop planting launch in Petauke district ,eastern province today, said he was displeased with concerns that extension workers spent time on trivialities at the expense of teaching farmers on how to grow crops.
“I personally want to state that extension workers who spend time womanizing should change their behaviour and focus on work for our farmers,” said President Lungu.
The President who was accompanied by Ministers of agriculture, Michael Katambo, State House freedom Sikazwe, Housing and Infrastructure, Vincent Mwale, PF National Chairman, Samuel Mukupa and Deputy Chairman, for national mobilization Geoffrey Mwamba said government pays particular attention to agriculture because it is an engine for national food security.
President Lungu addressing agro dealers and farmers who assembled at Yengwe farms, said the national planting launch has become an important event because it signifies the commencement of planting by farmers.
He said it was pleasing that the country has continued to record a bumper harvest owing to the government’s sound policies.
The President implored farmers to continue adopting smart agriculture as it was the best way to go.
The Head of State discouraged farmers who have benefited from the Farmer Input Support Programme(FISP) not to sell their inputs. “It is not right for the farmers to sell inputs when others completely failed to get anything,” President Lungu complained.
The President during the same occasion also donated a tractor to Paul Yengwe the owner of the farm the launch was held at so that he improves on his farming activities.
President Lungu also donated another tractor to the Petauke district cooperative union for their farming activities.
And British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley, commended the government for its efforts it was making to improve food production and embrace smart agriculture.
“The United Kingdom was supporting conservation farming initiatives to an amount of 25 million British pounds targeting 250,000 farmers countrywide, he disclosed.
Mr Woolley reiterated his governments’ commitment to improving livelihoods thus eradicating poverty in Zambia.
Earlier, Petauke District Farmer’s union Chairperson, Fackson Phiri praised president Lungu’s administration for exhibiting leadership in the agriculture sector.
Mr Phiri said the early distribution of inputs was unmatched in the country’s history.
He further said the on spot payment of farmers who supplied maize was commendable.
“I’m however, appealing to the government to work on roads which pose a challenge during the rainy season” he stated .
He also appealed to the president to direct the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to increase the price of bag of maize considering the cost of production.