President Edgar Lungu has praised the agriculture sector in Zambia saying it has remained resilient in the face of the Covid-19 which has been a big blow to various sectors of the economy across the world over a year now.
And President lungu said it is his government’s policy to ensure that each region in Zambia has a thriving agricultural industry that contributes to food security, economic development and job creation.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lungu said field days are a vital means of facilitating knowledge transfer between farmers and agricultural experts.
ZANIS reports that President Lungu was speaking when he officiated at the 2021 national agriculture field day in Mpika district, Muchinga province yesterday.
He said agricultural field days and exhibitions are important events as they give farmers an opportunity to interact with one another and connect with players and service providers in the agriculture industry.
“Field days are a vital means of facilitating knowledge transfer between farmers and agricultural experts. Through these events, it is guaranteed that many small scale farmers will be exposed to different agricultural practices to boost their productivity and agricultural output,” he said.
The Head of State said the sure way to boosting national production and productivity is through the promotion and adoption of good agricultural practices, such as conservation agriculture, the use of appropriate seed varieties and inputs, early planting, irrigation and mechanization.
The President has since praised Mpika district, saying that the area has been able to increase its production of food crops, such as maize, from 227,000 metric tonnes in the 2011/2012 farming season to 329,000 metric tonnes in the 2019/2020 season.
He reiterated that in last year’s farming season, farmers produced a bumper harvest of 3.3 million tonnes of maize.
He said in addition to the good harvest realised in 2020, all indications are pointing to the fact that the agriculture sector will yet again, record another bumper harvest in 2021.
“I am confident that the format of today’s gathering will support knowledge transfer and give farmers the confidence to begin practicing some of the latest innovations being shared at this event,” he said
He added that, “let me take advantage of this event to express my delight at the positive reports that the ongoing input distribution exercise for the 2021/2022 farming season is progressing well.”
And Muchinga Province Minister, Malozo Sichone said the region has recorded improved agriculture production because the area has received unprecedented development in the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, the Mpika District Farmers Association has lauded government’s sound agriculture policies under President Lungu’s leadership.
Association Chairman, Kennedy Chola said this can be evidenced by the bumper harvests the country has continued to record.
“We just request your serious intervention especially where high cost of fertilizer is concerned because the high prices are threatening the country’s food security,” he said.
And Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba stated that the bumper harvests that the country has continued to record is a clear indication that President Lungu’s government has a passion for farming.
“We are just urging you to give farmers a good price for their produce and allow exportation of farm produce using legal instruments as this will reduce smuggling,” Mr. Zimba stressed.
At the same event, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo said the agriculture sector is grateful for the support President Lungu has given it.
“I will soon be issuing a statutory instrument on exports as requested by stakeholders,” Mr. Katambo said.
Earlier, President Lungu met traditional leaders based in Mpika before touring the stands at the national agriculture field day.
Among the chiefs the President met were Kopa, Chiundaponde and Mukwikile.
The President has since returned to Lusaka from Mpika