Business

Lumwana empowers 90 smallholder farmers

CHRISTOPHER CHISI, Solwezi
BARRICK Lumwana Mining Company, which has trained 90 smallholder farmers in food safety and quality control, has reaffirmed its willingness to support and develop them through the promotion of agricultural value chain from production to accessing markets.
Company sustainability manager Brenda Tambatamba said through the agri-food innovation (AFI) programme, the mine has empowered smallholder farmers in the area with knowledge and skills in growing high value crops which are being supplied to Lumwana mining catering firm ATS.
Ms Tambatamba said recently when she officiated at a one-week training workshop  that farmers who are benefiting from the AFI programme are from Senior Chief Mukumbi, Chief Matebo and Mumena catchment area.
The company has pumped in K140,000 for the workshop targeting 90 smallholder farmers from the three chiefdoms.
“Lumwana Mine is keen to  developing  farmers  through  upholding  agricultural  value chain  from production to accessing markets  and ensuring  farmer competitiveness  through  upholding  health  and safety  requirements  and associated benchmark,” she said.
The mining firm has partnered with the International Development Enterprises in developing farmers’ capacities through improved irrigation technology.
Ms Tambatamba said the mining firm wants to see competitiveness among farmers through upholding health and safety requirement with associated benchmarks.
She said with such benchmarks, the shopping malls being constructed in Solwezi will provide a ready market for agricultural produce once completed.
Earlier, Farmer Organsaition Support Programme executive director Michael Muleba advised farmers to harmonise cooperation of all food safety and quality assurance along food chains with a focus on acceptable standards.
Mr Muleba urged farmers to shift from quantity-oriented markets that are often subsidised to quality-oriented, saying with global trade liberalisation, competition of food production has become more dependent on reliability of safety and quality of food, hence the need for farmers to uphold quality in food production.
In a vote of thanks, one of the participants, Ngoza Namwinga, said the farmers will fully utilise the knowledge acquired during the training.

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