ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda says conservation agriculture is a strategic approach in mitigating effects of climate change, preserving soil, and water resources by farmers.
Mr Lubinda said Government recognises the funding provided by the European Union (EU) in the Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up (CASU) programme, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), under the climate change adaptation in the Eastern and Southern Africa, in the promotion of the agriculture sector in Zambia.
He said this during the National Conservation Agriculture Task Force (NACTF) general meeting on Friday that there is need for stakeholders to support initiatives that help increase agricultural production, income, and addresses food insecurities.
â€œGovernment has attached great importance to the agriculture sector and will continue to support initiatives of this nature that target the improvement of small-scale rural farmersâ€™ livelihood.
â€œI, therefore, urge Zambian farmers to adopt conservation agriculture to enjoy the various benefits that come with this technology, such as increased yields, improvement of soil fertility, and moisture retention, among others,â€ Mr Lubinda said.
Earlier, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) representative to Zambia George Okech said for the last few decades, the organisation, in partnership with other institutions, have committed considerable amount of resources to witness the successful application of conservation agriculture.
Mr Okech said the involvement of stakeholders in the programme will help the team avoid duplication of works but, ensure that there is quality delivery of services and goods.
â€œNACTF will allow conservation agriculture stakeholders to share experiences, lessons learnt and also to harmonise technologies, practises and massages to farmers,â€ he said.
Similarly, Conservation Farming Unit executive director Collins Nkatiko said the meeting will enable stakeholders have a neutral platform for harmonisation of conservation agriculture programmes in the country.
â€œLast year, we were assigned to develop a knowledge sharing platform for the promotion of conservation agriculture in Zambia among small scale farmers. This is done by various players using different methods sometimes, even over-lapping.So we felt it is necessary to coordinate the way we work so that we do not send confusing messages to the farmers,â€ he said.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka