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Must-faceted approach key to fight climate change

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has personalised the crusade in raising awareness about climate change, which has had a negative impact in Zambia.
From the poor rains which have contributed to drought in most parts of the country to the power deficit, climate change has affected the country’s economic growth.
Government has been forced to distribute maize and other foodstuffs to drought-stricken areas at a huge cost while the power deficit means that small, medium and big businesses are operating at almost half capacity.
Reduced production by small, medium and big businesses means less revenues from exports and sales locally, less money going to the treasury in form of taxes and few economic activities in the country coupled with limited employment opportunities.
That is why President Lungu is using every available platform to talk about climate change so that citizens can embrace smart ways of doing things.
There is need for a change of mindset because it can no longer be business as usual when the threat posed by climate change is real.
Government has since started investing in alternative sources of energy, and solar is prominent among the renewable energy sources.
Wind energy is being explored, so is bio-energy.
In agriculture, Government is promoting smart methods of farming as one way of overcoming poor rains in some regions of the country.
This gesture has been complemented by seed manufacturing companies which are developing early to medium varieties.
Therefore, the coming on board of Brazil’s leading phosphate fertiliser company, Agronelli, which has started analysing Zambian soil to manufacture drought-resistant fertiliser for the country, is good news.
Agronelli’s analysis of the country’s soils will enable the company to come up with custom-made fertiliser for each region.
Every fertiliser manufacturing company should carry out soil analyses before recommending suitable fertilisers for the particular ecological zones.
Soil analysis is important for efficient utilisation of the fertilisers.
Usually, farmers buy more or less than required fertilisers when soils are not tested.
Also, testing the soils gives good information about the soil pH, which is important for knowing the soil acidity or alkalinity.
Acidic soils hinder the availability of plant nutrients such as phosphorus to the plants which in turn hinder plant development.
Therefore, soil analysis is very important as it will determine the absorption capabilities of the fertilisers.
It has been observed by some farmers that most of fertilisers on the market take long to break in order to be accessed by the plants, especially if moisture levels are very low. For instance, D compound takes long to be accessed by plants.
With more than half of the country receiving medium to below rains, Agronelli should come up with fertilisers which can be easily absorbed with minimal moisture.
Agronelli should also bear in mind that most of the farmers in the country are peasants who cannot afford very expensive fertilisers.
The company should look at coming up with affordable fertilisers for the farmers.
Besides, one of the biggest reasons that have attracted the Brazilian firm to prospect the possibility of investing in fertiliser manufacturing plant is availability of the local market and regional market for fertiliser.
The benefits to the Zambian economy and the citizenry at large will be massive.
Economic benefits include a contribution to Zambia’s gross domestic product. Most of the fertiliser used by our farmers is imported and that will be a thing of the past.
Secondly, setting up a manufacturing plant in Zambia will have a multiplier effect as other suppliers of goods and services stand to benefit from the manufacturing of fertilisers locally.
The benefit that Zambia stands to accrue is generation of foreign exchange through exports of the fertiliser steel within and outside the regional markets.