NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
GOVERNMNET says it will ensure that initiatives aimed at finding solutions to challenges in agriculture are supported to enable the sector contribute to economic growth.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa said Government recognises initiatives aimed at revolutionising agriculture hence the ministry wants to make the sector a major contributor to the countryâ€™s overall economic growth.
â€œWe do realise that more than 70 percent of the countryâ€™s population depends on agriculture,â€ Mr Shawa said.
He said this at the Centre for Biosciences and Agriculture International (CABI) regional consultation meeting held recently.
Mr Shawa said through implementation of the national agriculture investment plan, Government is focussing on putting resources in strategic areas that will grow the economy.
â€œThe areas that have been targeted in the plan are sustainable use of natural resources, food and nutritional capacity, infrastructural development and improved agricultural market access, and research and technology development,â€ Mr Shawa said.
He said CABI, an international non-profit organisation that improves peopleâ€™s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment, is well positioned to prioritise the development activities and resources to address some of the challenges affecting people.
â€œChallenges such as livestock disease identification, crop protection and animal health are some of the issues that require attention by CABI member countries,â€ he said.
Mr Shawa said these may be made worse by climate change variability, and consultative platforms are important for addressing some of the problems affecting communities.
At the same function, CABI chief executive officer Trevor Nicholls said the work organisation is involved in, includes the plant wise initiative which is striving to help small-scale farmers increase crop productivity through effective management of pests and disease.
Mr Nicholls said there is need for African countries to grow more food as the world population grows.
â€œThe farming community need more knowledge so that local capacity can be built,â€ he said.
Mr Nicholls said CABI intends to reach out toÂ two million farmers this year.
NANCY SIAME, Lusaka