Tuesday, May 21, 2024

President Hichilema Commissions Agric Hub

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President Hakainde Hichilema has said government is resolved to work in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in its agenda to promote agricultural productivity and food security in the country and beyond.
Speaking when he commissioned the IITA Zambia facilities Southern Africa Research and administrative hub in Chongwe, Mr. Hichilema said the expertise the institute is providing in agriculture research will help to improve food security in the country.

President Hichilema explained that the ambitious journey Zambia has embarked on to increase crop production needs concerted efforts and effective research in the Agriculture sector.

“So we must make use of IITA in our quest to improve crop production and food security at household level, much as the country has arable land, water bodies and favourable climatic conditions, there is need to leverage on improved research in the agriculture sector, “ he said.

The President has since called on his Ministers and other stakeholders to work in unison with IITA which is expected to give Zambia varieties of drought resistant crops such as cassava.

He said the improved cassava variety that IITA has brought to Zambia gives a huge tonnage of yield per hectare and should be rolled out to all the provinces of the country for farmers to be using it.

“Zambia is currently looking for crops that are resilient to adverse effects of climate change such as cassava among others, so the research interventions that come with this IITA will help to improve on the yield, “he said.

President Hichilema further reiterated government’s commitment to empower women and youths with capital for them to venture into value addition on agriculture products.He implored Zambians to take farming as a business by mechanising the sector in a quest to make it attractive to young people who have been shunning the sector for years.

Mr. Hichilema also urged IITA to work in partnership with Zambian agriculture research institutes such as Zambia agriculture research institute among others to effectively find scientific information on how to boost the agriculture sector.

“What we want now is to increase food production to promote food security at household level, food is very important to human beings because you cannot put on a suit and tie when you are hungry, “President Hichilema said.

He said to this effect, he urged the African Union and other world bodies to prioritise and tilt their agenda on matters pertaining to agriculture and support economic issues as opposed to promoting politics only.

And IITA Director General and Regional Director for continental Africa, Simeon Ehui said his organisation is happy to launch a regional hub in Zambia which will serve as a melting pot for innovation research, capacity building and knowledge sharing in research and agriculture.

Dr. Ehui added that the partnership with the Zambian government reflects a mutual commitment to drive food systems’ transformation and improve the lives of millions of smallholder farmers in Zambia.

And Dr. Ehui announced that IITA has gained full diplomatic status as an international organisation working in Zambia, according to the Zambian government.

“This timely development will strengthen partnership with government and increase IITA and CGIAR’s contribution to the research and agricultural transformation efforts in the country,” he said.

Nigerian former President Olusegun Obasanjo called on the Zambian government to treat agriculture as a business.
He observed that once agriculture is taken as a business, it can survive in the midst of climate change conditions such as prolonged droughts among other adverse effects.

The former Nigerian President also prodded the Zambian government not to work in silos when it comes to promoting food security in the country and called for all Ministers to work together towards agriculture.

He encouraged the government to scale-up planting cassava as it is resilient to adverse effects of climate change which has ravaged the globe.

Mr. Obasanjo further commended President Hichilema on the strides he is making towards promoting the agriculture sector.
Earlier, Minister of Agriculture Reuben Mtolo praised IITA for the support they have been rendering to government in the area of agriculture for over 40 years.

8 COMMENTS

    • Minister of Maize is dull, he spoil the all ambitious story by saying that that NGOs has worked for 40 years.
      40 years and we don’t know a $hit about them. And now president saying that iita will produce a head cabbage to each house a everyday?

  1. IT IS THE CASE OF APPLAUDING THE FISH WHEN IT SWIMS… THIS SHOULD BE LIKE DRINKING WATER, EASY TO DO AND NEVER TO GET MUCH MEDIA ATTENTION. PEOPLE ARE REDUCED TO THE POINT OF APPLAUDING POLITICAL LEADERS FOR BUILD A TOILET BLOCK / BUILDING… APPLAUDING THE BIRD FOR FLYING … MY GOD. SHAME .. AFRICAN PEOPLE YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLES. JUST SAYING INE

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    • Nobody is applauding. It is merely being reported that the President commissioned the hub and what the hub is there to do. This is important because it brings awareness of the existence and functions of the hub that citizens can derive benefit from. Applauding would have been if the author went on to praise the President for commissioning it – which he has not done. It may be beneficial if our discourse arising from such an article leant towards discussing the need for and use of, innovation and research in agriculture in Zambia, opportunities and any implementation gaps that may exist.

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  2. This is a milestone that is worthy celebrating. Our agriculture has in the past failed to change people’s lives mainly due to lack of innovation, technology and many other factors. Lets view this in a positive way rather thank politicizing it.

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  3. Speeches and motivation speeches with nothing to show for. Why didn’t they take picture of the surrounding so that we see exactly what was beings commissioned. They are plenty of such stones around the country gathering dust. The expression from everyone’s face looks like they are at a burial site.

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  4. In times like these, we need practical and intelligent agricultural professionals to guide the nation amidst drought and uncertainty and not Cornelius Mweetwa circus of negating the presidents declaration of disaster who later says Zambia has food and embarrasses the president. Get the likes of Harry Ngoma, Dr. Miti, Dr. Edify Hamukale, Max Mbunji, Dr. Mwanaumo and others on board. Reuben Mtolo is an economist and not a science man. Science solves problems and not perrenial Cornelius mweetwa unproductive rantings.

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  5. Applauding a fish when it swims….exactly what’s happening in Zambia and in the meantime let’s go to the UN with a huge begging bowl since we can’t feed ourselves…the Government of nichekeleko and we have the begger in chief as a President

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