KELLY NJOMBO, Kafue
GOVERNMENT has urged farmers not to lose hope despite the delays of rains due to changing weather pattern.
The country has experienced erratic rains in Lusaka, Southern and parts of Eastern provinces.
Officiating at the launch of the 2015/16 farming season and diversification programme on Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said climate change is real as witnessed by the delay in the onset of the rainy season (in some areas), but not all hope is lost.
Mr Lubinda said this in a speech read for him by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Maxas Ngâ€™onga that despite the negative climate challenges, most farmers are still planting maize with the hope that it will soon start raining.
â€œWe must not lose hopeâ€¦The rainy season has delayed, but some farmers dry planted their maize and it has started germinating. We need to continue working together to ensure the country addresses some of the challenges affecting the growth of the agriculture sector,â€ he said.
At the same event, Zambia National Farmersâ€™ Union (ZNFU) president Evelyn Nguleka urged Government to invest more in research and extension services to enable farmers access improved technologies that will help sustain the agriculture sector in view of the current climate change challenges.
Dr Nguleka said farmersâ€™ need to carefully adopt crops that can withstand climate change challenges to ensure high productivity.
She said it is important for the farmers to share new ideas and farming methods with technocrats that will help mitigate the effects of climate change as Zambia enters the new farming season.
â€œIt is evident that much progress has been achieved in agriculture sector so far, but it is clear that a lot more needs to be done for the country to withstand the current climate change challenges,â€
â€œIf we are to look at the changing weather pattern, we the farmers would like to see Government invest more in research so that we develop farming technologies that will sustain the sector even in bad season. More continued effort in research and exertion should be applied,â€ Dr Nguleka said.
KELLY NJOMBO, Kafue