KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
CROPLIFE Zambia says small-scale farmersâ€™ contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has not been fully maximised due to limited access to agricultural training and knowledge.
At the Croplife Africa Middle-East and annual conference in Lusaka recently, it was observed that farmers often lack the necessary knowledge to use agro-chemicals effectively and this is affecting their yields.
Croplife chairperson Chola Kamaki said agricultural trainings need to be undertaken regularly to ensure farmers access up-to-date information on how to use agro-chemicals and new innovations in crop production.
â€œTo help maximise their agricultural productivity and contribution to the GDP, farmers need information about the responsible use of pesticides, how to identify genuine pesticides and how to apply these in the most effective way.
â€œSmall-scale farmers often lack the necessary knowledge to use pesticides effectively and responsibly. As a sparsely-populated country with poor transport and communications infrastructure, many farmers have limited access to agricultural training and knowledge,â€ he said.
Mr Kamaki said Croplife will continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure farmers have access to genuine agricultural chemicals.
â€œCroplife is making the industry more credible and responsible. We have been involved in various activities that promote anti-counterfeiting, revision of pesticide management guidelines â€¦We have partnered to develop agro-dealer certification programmes aimed at lifting the standards of pesticide management,â€ he said.
The company perceives the conference as a good platform where issues of food production through the use of improved agricultural chemicals were discussed.
Croplife Zambia, a non-governmental organisation specialised in agricultural chemicals held the conference in Lusaka to discuss techniques of how to improve the farming sector in Zambia.
The conference attracted delegates from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi, Egypt and Angola. Other participants were from Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Ghana.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka