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‘Embrace smart agricultural practice’

GREEN FARMERS are being encouraged to manage weeds in fields to encourage water retention and better soil quality.

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the key to a successful campaign and adoption of climate-smart agricultural practice lies in the blending of scientific and indigenous knowledge systems.
Once the practice is embraced, the country could improve agricultural productivity in a changing climate, FAO representative to Zambia George Okech said during the climate smart agriculture project knowledge sharing workshop on Thursday.
Mr Okech said there is need to formulate evidence-based information that will support and make agriculture thrive in Zambia despite the adverse effects of climate change.
He said FAO will continue supporting Government’s efforts of ensuring that it meets the objectives of improving food and income security while significantly increasing adaption of farming systems that have a negative effect on climate change.
“Making agricultural production and management systems climate-smart is a knowledge-intensive process requiring a comprehensive capacity development approach of all stakeholders… and, most importantly, the communities to enable each of them play their rightful role in making agriculture in Zambia more resilient to climate shocks,” he said.
One of the key areas of FAO’s support to the agriculture sector in Zambia is how to improve farming productivity in a changing climate.
“FAO in Zambia is currently, supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and its partners towards the development and implementation of policies and programmes that address, simultaneously, three inter-twined challenges,” Mr Okech said.
Earlier, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock acting deputy director technical source branch Stanislaus Chisakuta said there is need to address climate change and variability challenges as about 80 percent of the rural populace depends on agriculture.
Mr Chisakuta said climate change is taking place among other development challenges, notably the declining soil fertility associated with inappropriate farming practices.
“Other challenges include high costs of external farming inputs, inadequate rural infrastructure, lack of high quality germ plasm, especially with traditional local crop varieties, and animal breeds, all with negative impacts on food security,” he said.

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