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‘We need drought resistant crops’

KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) researcher says Zambia needs to develop drought-resistance seeds to enhance productivity and health security.

UNZA bean breeder Kelvin Kamfwa said production levels of beans still remain low due to poor adoption of improved seed varieties among the farming communities despite the country having the potential to increase yields.

Speaking during the Beans for Health and Wealth National conference on Wednesday, Dr Kamfwa said there is need for establishing a model that will be developed and fully supported by Government to grow the beans sub-sector.
“The goal is to increase beans productivity in the country…There is also need to increase funding towards research development in the growth of bean seed to develop varieties that are resistant to pest and diseases to reduce the cost of production as most small-scale farmers do not use chemicals,” he said.
Dr Kamfwa said the UNZA is currently working with institutions such as the Zambia Agriculture and Research Institute and the Michigan State University to run the bean breeding programme.
Dr Kamfwa said the growing of beans, which is mainly dominated by small-scale farmers, has various benefits through nutrition health and food security.
He highlighted some of the challenges in the bean sub-sector as poor genetics, low soil fertility, pest diseases, poor management and drought.