HONE SIAME, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says it will this year establish 20 irrigation schemes and promote the use of dambos for irrigation at a cost of K428.6 million so that farmers can grow crops before and after the rainy season to enhance national food security.
And Government has allocated K18.3 million to help fish farmers improve their businesses to transform Zambia into one of the major fish exporters in the region.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said the huge investment in the agriculture sector demonstrates Government’s determination to realise its economic diversification objectives.
Mr Yamba said Government will also spend K30 million on the construction of dip tanks and K10 million for the Cordon line to reduce the spread of animal diseases to accelerate the growth of the livestock sector.
Mr Yamba said this in a Citizens’ Budget report released by Ministry of Finance head of public relations Chileshe Kandeta.
“Government will set up 20 irrigation schemes and promote the use of dambos for irrigation at a cost of K428.5 million so that farmers can grow crops before and after the rainy season,” Mr Yamba said.
He said the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) will gobble K2.9 billion for the 2017/2018 farming season this year and that the electronic voucher (e-voucher) system will be used to support farmers in accessing farming inputs.
Mr Yamba said Government, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), will also spend an additional K942 million to buy maize and other crops from farmers to ensure the country has enough food stock.
Meanwhile, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Michael Katambo says Government is targeting 12,000 youths and women to venture in fish farming and benefit from the US$50 million loan facility it has secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to grow the fish industry.
Mr Katambo said this at Ethiopia’s Bole International Airport yesterday when he was transiting to Czech Republic where he is expected to attend a Break Basket Exhibition with his Agriculture counterpart Dora Siliya.
This is according to a statement issued by first secretary for press and tourism at the Zambian mission in Ethiopia Inutu Mupango yesterday.