FAO gives out 70 motorbikes for extension officers

THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) through the European Union (EU)-funded conservation agriculture scaling up (CASU) project has handed over 70 motorbikes to Government at a cost of US$260,000.
The project is aimed at easing transport challenges faced by extension officers in the country, FAO country representative George Okech said this when he handed over the motorbikes to Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda on Friday.
Mr Okech said in this era of climate change, when extension support is much needed by farmers, mobility for officers becomes a necessity that cannot be dispensed.
“FAO has developed and contributed significantly to some of the best extension methodologies being applied by the Ministry of Agriculture, but FAO also realises that if these are not taken to farmers in good time, they remain nothing but just knowledge learnt and stored without being applied.
“… I believe that more farmers will benefit from the extension expertise in terms of timely delivery of relevant knowledge and information, especially in a time when climate change is more apparent than ever before and the need to know and acquire updated information becomes even more serious,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Lubinda said field staff have been unable to effectively provide technical information and extension services on conservation agriculture to farmers due to transport challenges faced by the ministry.
“[The project] will also enable extension staff conduct routine monitoring of field events as well as collect the necessary data for use in tracking and evaluating process on all field activities in their geographical areas of jurisdiction,” he said.
Mr Lubinda commended the EU for the financial provision and FAO for the technical support and ability to mobilise financial resources from cooperating partners.
He, however, cautioned the beneficiary field staff to use the equipment for the intended purposes under the CASU project.

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