President Hakainde Hichilema says the new dawn government is committed to building strong partnerships with various stakeholders in the agriculture sector in order to transform the sector’s full potential.
President Hichilema said it is government’s obligation to ensure that its population is food secure.
President Hichilema was speaking when he graced the 115th Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) Annual Congress in Lusaka today.
“As government we do not need any persuasion to work. It is inherent in us to ensure that we succeed as a government in different sectors,” the President said.
And President Hichilema noted that farming has great potential to create jobs for the Zambian people stating that it should also be used to alleviate poverty.
“Government places agriculture at the core of its transformation agenda and its intent to turn around the economy but this can be only achieved if we partner and work together. Over the years, agriculture did not realize its full potential due to lack of leadership to work with the sector and deal with issues that have been hanging on for years among them being animal and crop disease control,” he said.
President Hichilema said government and the Zambia National Farmers Union including other stakeholders in the sector have a shared understanding of reducing cost of production.
“Farming must be rewarding. We need to work together and make agriculture pay well to the farmers,” the President said.
President Hichilema appealed to farmers to increase productivity once they receive the support needed from government.
The President also noted the need for stable agriculture policies which he said can only be possible with stable consultations with farmers.
“We must make our policies attractive but only through consultations. We are available for those engagements and must be consistent,” he stressed.
And the Zambia National Farmers Union president, Jervis Zimba pledged to continue engaging with government to ensure that the agriculture sector continues to thrive.
Mr. Zimba said however that government should put in place policies that will ensure that farmers’ voices in the country are heard.
“We are blessed as a country because of the arable land and water. When the agriculture sector performs badly, effects are felt throughout the country,” he noted.
Mr. Zimba further appealed to government to work hard and ensure that agriculture products are depoliticised.
“My appeal to you Mr. President is that you consider FISP reforms. Government should be aware that in the absence of FISP, farmers have nowhere to go,” he said.
And CORTEVA Agriscience who are the main sponsor of the event, has pledged to continue supporting farmers including the emerging farmers.
CORTEVA Managing Director, Samson Nyendwa further called on government to provide an enabling environment for farmers to flourish.
“We will continue to collaborate with government and will remain a trusted partner in agriculture dispensation,” he said.