The government says it has embarked on a Comprehensive Agricultural Program to enhance production and processing in the agricultural sector.
Agriculture Minister Reuben Mutolo Phiri says government is in the process of enhancing agricultural diversity under the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) through supply of different seed varieties to small scale farmers as opposed to Maize, only.
Speaking during a National Seed Fair at GART in Chisamba, Mr Phiri said diversification and value addition in the agricultural sector can lead to economic development.
And Central Province Minister Credo Nanjuwe has called on farmers in the Province to use improved Seed varieties for improved yields. Mr Nanjuwe says the New Dawn government will ensure support to farmers in order to enhance value addition.
Meanwhile, Government has encouraged smallholder farmers in Northern Province to practice mechanised agriculture.
Northern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Lewis Mwape says use of machinery in farming will not only help smallholder farmers to save on time but also labour costs.
He also stated that the government is developing a national Agriculture strategy to resolve the lack of mechanisation in the country.
ZANIS reports that the Deputy Permanent Secretary this when he officiated at the exhibition show on mechanised farming event organized by the Sustainable Intensification of Small Holder Farming Systems in Zambia (SIFAZ) held at Musa Farm Institute in Kasama.
Meanwhile, the deputy permanent secretary has urged farmers to take advantage of the loan component from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to acquire the funds to acquire farming machinery.
“As you are all aware, Government is keen to see that the private sector is an active participant in the Agriculture Business. This is a sustainable way of handling sustainable business relationships as projects have a time frame, but the Ministry of Agriculture, the farmers and the private sector will continue co-existing, ” he said.
Sustainable Intensification of Small Holder Farming Systems in Zambia (SIFAZ) National Project Coordinator Geoffrey Siulemba reiterated his organization commitment to promoting mechanisation among smallholder farmers.
The SIFAZ project is supporting the production process which includes land preparation, crop management, harvesting and post-harvest and processing.
Mr. Siulemba explained that SIFAZ project is linking farmers under the farmer groups to reliable partners with various potentials to support cooperatives in accessing agricultural inputs, finance, markets and mechanization among others.
Northern Province Provincial Agricultural Officer Innocent Mulauzi bemoaned the low hectares under cultivation among farmers in the province.
According to a statement issued by the Serenje town council Public relations officer Oscar Malipenga, noted that although the number of farmers in the province is high, the hectare remains relatively low attributing this to the lack of mechanisation.
He has further encouraged farmers to ensure they are in registered cooperatives.
And Henry Chisanga, a farmer from Mumbi camp in Mungwi thanked SIFAZ for organizing the show.
He said practicing sustainable Intensification Agriculture will help him realize tangible benefits.