VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
PROMOTING a green economy is the theme for this year’s Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show.
A green economy can be thought of as an alternative vision for growth and development; one that can generate growth and improvements in people’s lives in ways consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
A green economy promotes a triple-bottom line approach: sustaining and advancing economic, environmental and social well-being.
Agricultural and Commercial Show Society of Zambia (ACSZ) president Ben Shoko said the promotion of a green economy has made the 2017 agricultural show unique in many ways.
According to him, this is seen in the dedication and focus the society has placed on the farmer who ensures that there is food on the table in many households through hard work in terms of tilling the land.
“What is unique about this year’s agricultural show is the promotion of a green economy. This is because without the farmer, without us preserving our natural resources, more particularly the land, the trees and plants where we get our sustenance, the earth will be no more,” Mr Shoko said.
In various parts of the country and the world as a whole, where people have neglected to care for the environment, suffering is the order of the day.
And the ACSZ thought it befitting to put in place a theme which focuses on reminding people of the importance of the environment.
Mr Shoko emphasised that going forward, water, plants and any form of development undertaken by both Government and individuals should be environmentally friendly.
In demonstrating how a green environment can create a green economy, the Show Society has taken serious interest in ensuring that the environment is protected.
One of the ways in which they are doing this is through the refurbishment of the cattle section and improvement of the demonstration plots where various crops are grown in the showgrounds.
Here, the Show Society has planted a variety of crops, including cabbage, rape, spinach, and tomatoes.
“We have the fish ponds which will have fish for sale and the breeding stock, all intended to educate and encourage our farmers to diversify into various cropping activities.
“We will be holding seminars throughout the period of the show where various presenters will be showing the value of technology in the farming industry and farmers will be invited to attend the seminars so that they can improve their farming practices,” Mr Shoko said.
And complementary industries such as seed growers and fertilizer suppliers are there to give lectures on advanced technology for best farming practices.
In its campaign for creating a green environment, the Show Society is promoting the practice of pasture production whereby livestock farmers are expected to grow grass for their animals.
A variety of grass is on display at the show in an attempt to teach farmers different ways of growing good grass for their animals throughout the year.
The selection of the show theme has excited many exhibitors whose interpretation is unique depending on the goods and services they offer.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, whose mandate ranges from forest, land and sustainable development, is more focused at ensuring a green economy through its different initiatives that have been put in place.
Public relations officer Diniwe Zulu said among the projects being implemented is the forest regeneration funded by the United Nations Development Programme.
This is aimed at restoring forests in more than 15,000 hectares of land in Central Province.
“Under land administration, the ministry is working with relevant line ministries to develop legislation to ensure sustainable management of our natural resources,” Ms Zulu said.
And Green Enviro Watch director Abel Musumali says the concept of a green economy in the Zambian concept is an ideal development model that has immense opportunities to transform the economic development pathway in a more sustainable and inclusive manner.
“Although new, Zambia green economy will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders to begin to promote initiatives that support a green economy such as renewable energy production, e- commerce and sustainable industrial activities,” Mr Musumali said.
The Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ), a membership institution with 18 registered commercial banks, says in line with the show theme, a lot of technological advancement in the banking sector have been recorded in the recent years.
One of the platforms which the banking sector prides itslf on is the introduction of the electronic payment platforms, namely mobile banking, online banking, internet banking, point of sell machines, movement of funds from one account to the other electronically and use of ATMs.
“When we talk about a green economy, we are basically talking about operations that are kinder to the environment, that are less stressful and (also) use of less trees. The banking sector through the use of electronic payment systems is promoting paperless transactions,” BAZ public relations officer Mirriam Zimba said.
She encouraged the member banks and the public as a whole to take advantage of the electronic payment platforms.
The Laudato Si, the encyclical letter of Pope Francis, on the care for our common home, says the earth’s resources are being plundered because of the short-sighted approaches to the economy.
The promotion of a green economy therefore calls for behavioural change among citizens by adopting new methods of a green lifestyle.
A green economy is aimed at realising and achieving a low development pathway in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emission and mitigate adverse effects of climate change.
It is also meant to protect and preserve our natural resources such as forests, water and soil.
When we promote a green economy we are simply utilising the available resource in a sustainable way for the benefit of the future generation.