NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe
GOVERNMENT will soon embark on an exercise to recruit 472 agriculture extension officers and support staff in the Ministry of Agriculture in
a bid to improve agriculture extension services in the country.
Minister of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said in an interview yesterday that the 472 recruits will help improve staffing levels in various districts in the country which he said are inadequate.
Mr Shawa said Government will ensure it improves staffing levels in various agriculture camps to expand extension services in the agriculture sector.
He said currently in the agriculture camps, staffing levels are poor, with one camp officer attending to 1,000 farmers.
“Plans to recruit agriculture extension officers and other support staff have always been there. We shall soon recruit 472 officers in our ministry to improve staffing levels,” Mr Shawa said.
He said Government is also determined to address the problem of transport and accommodation for agriculture extension officers working in various agriculture camps.
Mr Shawa said plans are underway to buy motorbikes, and build houses in various districts for agriculture extension officers.
He said this will help improve agriculture activities in the country as some agriculture officers often walk distances of not less than 30 kilometres to get to their camps due to lack of transport and housing infrastructure.
And Mr Shawa said Government is screening farmers listed as beneficiaries under the Farmer Input Support Programme to ensure the intended people benefit from the programme.
He said this farming season, Government is targeting to put one million farmers on the programme to ensure the most vulnerable are captured on the programme.