NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
SMALL-SCALE farmers in eastern and southern Africa who are meeting in Lusaka have honoured President Lungu with a regional pro-poor governance award for his role in promoting the welfare of farmers.
And President Lungu has re-affirmed his commitment to the development of the agriculture sector because of its potential for poverty reduction and economic emancipation.
A representative of regional small-scale farmers Dorcas Shonga said the award is an appreciation to the President for leading a listening government that is willing to listen to farmers to bring change that will improve their livelihood.
Acting President Inonge Wina received the award for President Lungu at a regional small-scale farmersâ€™ symposium in Lusaka yesterday.
â€œWe have decided as regional small-scale farmers to honour President Lungu with a regional pro-poor governance award,â€ she said.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya presented the award to Mrs Wina on behalf of the farmers.
Receiving the award, the Acting President thanked the farmers in the region for their decision to honour the President.
She said this demonstrates that the farmers have been following what Government is doing in its endeavour to uplift the livelihoods of Zambians, especially in rural areas.
â€œWe are greatly humbled by this gesture as it demonstrates that you have followed with keen interest our efforts to uplift lives of Zambians,â€ Mrs Wina said.
And President Lungu said Government will continue to develop the agriculture sector because it holds the greatest potential for poverty reduction and economic freedom of a large proportion of the population.
Mr Lungu said in a speech read on his behalf by Mrs Wina that Government recognises the important role that agriculture plays in the lives of the people.
â€œAs you may be aware, agriculture supports the livelihoods of most Zambians,â€ he said.
Mr Lungu said his Government will also continue to implement agricultural polices that promote sustainable growth, bearing in mind the needs of small-scale farmers.
He further called on traditional leaders not to take shortcuts when issuing land to investors so that farmers are not disadvantaged.
And Senior Chief Nkomeshya Mukamabo (II) appealed to Government to involve farmers in issues that concern them.
President Lungu recently directed the Food Reserve Agency to increase the price of a 50kg bag of maize from K70 to K75 to encourage small-scale farmers to grow more next season.
He has also graced many agricultural functions, earning him praise from farmers across the country.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka