KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) is committed to develop a robust information and communications technology (ICT) sector to support strong agricultural linkages through effective communications in both rural and urban areas, to promote economic growth.
ZICTA director support services Mofya Chisala said ICTs play a significant role in enhancing agricultural production by providing farmers information on how to grow, maintain and manage their farming businesses.
Mr Chisala said this in an interview after a panel discussion at the Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit on Monday under the theme: â€˜Making technology work for agricultureâ€™.
He said the authority has engaged agricultural organisations such as the Zambia National Farmers Union to ensure farmers in rural areas also benefit from improved technology practices and ICTs.
On Monday, Womenâ€™s Entrepreneurial Centres of Resources, Education, Access and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE), in partnership with the United States government in Lusaka, organised the Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 that brought together various entrepreneurs, government officials and the private sector.
â€œYou need to know that under ZICTA, there has been the universal access programme where 204 towers were put up to ease communication access in rural areas. Government is also planning to put up another 400 towers so that we can have 100 percent population coverage, meaning where there are people, there must be communication, and once the target is reached, I am sure most of the communication challenges in rural areas, especially among the farming communities, will be in the past,â€ he said.
Mr Chisala said rural areas should not be forsaken when it comes to development, be it in communication or improved agricultural practices.
He said ZICTA is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture on how to come up with initiatives to identify how ICTs can be used to develop the sector and increase its contribution to the gross domestic product.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka