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THE rains have nourished the pasture. Here, cattle grazing in Katuba area. PICTURE:COLLINS PHIRI

Embrace animal breeding, fish farming – Lubinda

GOVERNMENT has urged farmers to diversify to sectors such as livestock and fish farming from crop production because of climate change.
Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said this could help farmers to reap from agriculture business and significantly contribute to economic development.
Mr Lubinda said diversification is becoming economically sound because there is potential in other areas of the agriculture sector.
Mr Lubinda said in a speech read for him by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Maxas Ng’onga during the launch of the 2015/16 farming season and diversification programme on Wednesday that Government has included other crops in the farmer input support programme, such as groundnuts, cassava, rice soya beans, and sunflower as a way of promoting crop diversification.
He said crop diversification will contribute to wealth creation and boost people’s livelihoods through value addition.
“We need to embrace livestock and fish farming in the face of climate change. We are encouraging our farmers to take advantage and diversify their production. Diversification should not only be limited to crops, we need to embrace livestock production as well.
“Livestock enterprises such as piggery and poultry production will ensure that farmers have a steady income throughout the year,” he said.
Mr Lubinda lamented that the livestock and fishery sectors have not been fully exploited by farmers, which has impacted negatively on the growth of the agriculture sector.
“Maize is one of the major crops grown in Zambia, but we want other crops to be recognised as well. This will enhance food security on the continent as well as the country,” he said.
This is in line with Government’s vision of making Zambia the food basket of the region.