The Ministry of Agriculture in Luapula Province is on course to meet the target of farmers who are to be recruited under the Market Oriented Rice Development Project (MOReDep).
Luapula Province Principal Agricultural Officer Osbetty Hamwete revealed that 3,400 Rice farmers from six districts have already been engaged and that they have since started growing the crops.
In an interview with ZANIS in Mansa today, Mr Hamwete revealed that the province intends to reach 12, 700 rice farmers before the project comes to an end in 2025 adding that the project will also be supporting the farmers with farming inputs.
He said farmers from 30 agricultural camps are already cultivating rice and are doing well adding that he is hopeful that by the end of the project rice production in the province will increase to about 3.5 tons per hectare.
“We are not only providing inputs to these farmers but also linking them to markets so that they do not have challenges when selling their harvest. Market has been one of the challenges which most farmers in Luapula Province have been facing,” he said.
Mr Hamwete adds that the project is also promoting mechanisations as farmers in certain camps are using tractors to prepare their fields which is making it easy for them to cultivate bigger pieces of land.
He cited Mabumba area where five hectors of rice have been cultivated through the use of machines such as tractors and that this has cut on the time which farmers used to spend when preparing their fields.
“We are also in the process of acquiring the services of a combiner harvester so that our farmers should not be having challenges when they are harvesting their rice which means that they will be selling their rice on time,” Mr Hamwete noted.
The Principal Agricultural Officer observed that so far the response from farmers in the province has be overwarming as it can be seen from the numbers of those who have come on board and are willing to continue producing rice.
He notes that most farmers have realised that rice is a cash crop which can help them improve their livelihood if only they are able to grow it according to the agreed standards because the province already has a conducive weather pattern for rice growing.
The Market Oriented Rice Development project is being implemented with support from the Japan International Corporation and seven districts in Luapula namely Mansa, Mwense, Lunga, Chembe, Mwansabobwe, and Kawambwa are benefiting from the project
Why cant some of these projects be supported by MInistry of Agriculture everything has to have foreign support for it to kick off.
@Tarino Orange. I’ve always wondered the same for years! Then you’ll hear our biggest resident tourist claim his government has scored another milestone…What a waste of votes
Can you imagine if we had these rice projects going for the last 15 years in Luapula and Western Province? We would exporting it to DRC and neighbours…we would rather waste money through handing out cash during campiagns
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