KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
THERE is need for Zambia to accelerate agricultural development with a modernised and technologically-based model if the sector’s potential is to become a reality, Chinese Ambassador Yang Youming has said.
During the first China-Africa agricultural cooperation and development seminar held alongside the 91st Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show, Mr Yang said the country has arable land and good climatic conditions that need full exploitation.
He said there is need to deepen the cooperation in agriculture.
“Zambia has abundant land and China has the cutting edge in capital and technology, hence the need to work together in using the agricultural potential of this country.
“For Zambia to succeed in its agricultural development, the country requires a technologically-based model, and I am urging all Chinese investors to internalise their operations through skills transfer and knowledge sharing,” Mr Yang said.
He said the Chinese government has demonstrated commitment in supporting Zambia’s push to make agriculture as the mainstay of the economy.
“We have established the first agriculture technical centre in Africa here in Lusaka, and so far over 1,000 technicians have been trained by Chinese experts. We are also putting up a research institute in Northern Province and the China Africa Cotton will establish an agricultural industrial park in Chipata.
“We are also contributing to the construction of grain silos and sinking of boreholes, and over 10,000 hectares are being cultivated by about 20 Chinese companies,” Mr Yang said.
Earlier, organisers of the seminar, China Agriculture Filming and Television Center chief director Fu Xueliu said there is need to promote agricultural technologies and wealth building initiatives between the two countries.
And Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said Zambians should take advantage of the cooperation with China to learn new technologies in the sector.
“Our farmers should also expand the food basket by not only focusing on crops but livestock and poultry. We want the country to be an agrarian economy where everyone should have an interest in agriculture,” she said.