KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has in the last six years invested US$60 million in the development and supply of innovative science technologies to enhance agricultural productivity in Zambia.
USAID economic office development director Jeremy Boley said investment in research and development has resulted in improved varieties of orange and drought-resistant maize, groundnut and soya bean.
Other crops include pigeon peas, cowpeas and orange sweet potato with more than dozen new varieties released to the private sector.
During the Zambia National workshop on beans and groundnuts early generation seed (EGS) last week, Mr Boley said there is need for continued support in agriculture, agri-business and scaling up applications of science technology and innovation to ensure that the country is food secure.
“Over the last six years, USAID invested US$60 million in the developing and sharing of science, technologies, and innovations that enhance agricultural productivity, improve food safety and nutrition, as well as boost farmer and household resilience to risk and hazards, and reduce post-harvest losses,” Mr Boley said.
He said the US government through the Feed the Future initiative has been partnering with Zambia to end hunger and malnutrition while promoting resilient farming communities.
Mr Boley said it is important to enhance partnerships in order to eliminate food insecurity while creating more employment, raising incomes and growing Zambia’s economy.
“Success also depends on developing partnerships with lending institution including banks, micro-finance institutions and savings and loans groups to invent or adapt agricultural lending products for small and medium scale seed companies and smallholder farmers,” he said.