Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mkushi Farmers Association Leads 2024 Early Maize Harvest

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Mkushi Farmers
President hichilema and farmers in Mkushi during the launch of the 2024 Early Maize Harvest

Mkushi farmers have taken center stage in driving President Hakainde Hichilema’s push for irrigated early maize production in Zambia. Chairperson Miklos Marffy highlighted the association’s steadfast dedication to combating the negative impacts of drought through proactive agricultural measures.

The Mkushi Farmers Association has emerged as a pivotal force in President Hakainde Hichilema’s initiative to promote irrigated early maize production in Zambia. Chairperson Miklos Marffy’s recent statement to ZANIS underscores the association’s unwavering commitment and support towards mitigating the adverse effects of drought through proactive agricultural practices.

Speaking from the heart of Mkushi, Marffy conveyed the readiness of local farmers to embrace the President’s directive with enthusiasm and optimism. In an exclusive interview with ZANIS, he emphasized the critical role irrigated early maize production plays in safeguarding the nation’s food supply amidst challenging climatic conditions.

“Farmers are ready to respond positively to the President’s initiative of mitigating the negative effects of the drought,” Marffy affirmed, echoing the sentiments of a community determined to navigate the challenges posed by erratic weather patterns.

Today marked a significant milestone for Mkushi and Central Zambia as the 2024 early maize harvest was officially launched. This bountiful yield, made possible through a combination of irrigation and rainwater, stands as a testament to the dedication of farmers, both large and small scale, who heeded the government’s call to prioritize early maize production.

The Mkushi Farmers Association has a membership of 83 commercial famers and over 400 emerging and small scale farmers in Mkushi district.The launch of the early maize harvest is part of collaborative efforts between government and players in the agriculture sector aimed at enhancing agricultural resilience and ensuring sustainable food production in the country.

Approximately 146,000 metric tons of early maize have been harvested, signaling a promising boost to the region’s food security. However, the journey doesn’t end here. In a forward-looking approach, the government is pivoting towards irrigation-based agriculture, with plans underway to provide crucial support to farmers through irrigation facilities.

President Hichilema, in his address, expressed gratitude to every individual involved in the tireless efforts to produce food for the nation. He extended an open invitation to farmers across Zambia to join hands in this transformative journey towards sustainable agriculture.

President Hichilema during the Lauch of the 2024 Early Maize Harvest in Mkushi

“To further ensure that our country produces crops and food throughout the year, we are pivoting towards irrigation-based agriculture by embarking on a programme to support our farmers with irrigation facilities .We are grateful to all the farmers, both large and small scale for answering Government’s call to get into early maize production. This has produced approx. 146,000MT of early maize, which will go a long way in bolstering our food security,”President Hichilema said.

As the country embarks on this path, guided by the vision and leadership of President Hichilema, the Mkushi Farmers Association stands at the forefront, embodying the spirit of resilience and collective action. Their unwavering commitment serves as an inspiration for others, highlighting the potential for meaningful change and progress in Zambia’s agricultural landscape.

With optimism and determination, Mkushi and its farmers lead the charge towards a future where food security is not just a goal but a reality for all Zambians. As the early maize harvest marks a new beginning, it also signals a promise of prosperity and abundance for the nation.

The dry spell has from mid-January this year affected most of the central and southern half of the country, which has received less than normal rainfall leaving 1 million hectares of maize destroyed, almost half of the country’s maize cultivation. It is also projected that the drought will lead to a power deficit or 430 Megawatts and affect ground and surface water levels, with severe consequences for sectors beyond agriculture since over 80 per cent of Zambia electricity generation comes from hydro-power.

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