KELLY NJOMBO, Mansa
GOVERNMENT says there is need to intensify research on crop varieties that are drought tolerant if the country is to address the challenge of low crop production.
Luapula Province Minister Benson Kapaya said the current crop production challenges created by climate change and soil degradation are due to poor agricultural practices and lack of knowledge on improved crop varieties and appropriate technologies.
Brigadier general Kapaya said this when the Zambia National Framers Union (ZNFU) and the Finnish Ambassador to Zambia, Timo Olkkonen, paid a courtesy call on him on Sunday.
He said that there is need for farmers in the province to adapt to agricultural practices that will enable them resist adverse climatic conditions and ensure food security.
The ZNFU team and Mr Olkkonen are in the province to identify potential agricultural activities and help find solutions to some of the challenges affecting the development of the sector.
â€œGovernment stands ready to continue exploring measures aimed at addressing the current crop production challenges created by climate change and soil degradation due to poor practices.
â€œThere is need to intensify on research so as to improve crop varieties that are drought tolerant, high in nutrition content and low soil nutrient tolerant varieties but are high yielding,â€ he said.
Mr Kapaya said Government considers agriculture as one of the key sectors with the potential to drive the Zambian economy after copper, and that there is need for concerted efforts from stakeholders to further develop the sector.
Earlier, ZNFU president Evelyn Nguleka said Luapula is one of the provinces in the country with vast agricultural potential to make Zambia a food basket in the region.
Dr Nguleka said Luapula has massive natural resources such as water, land, human labour and a favourable climate to grow various crops, hence contribute to food security globally.
She said there is need for people in the province to exploit various agricultural activities to reduce poverty and increase income.
â€œLuapula is one of the provinces that can make Zambia a food basket, especially that it has all the critical combinations required in agricultural practices such as land, water, human labour and a favourable climate,â€ Dr Nguleka said.
And Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Timo Olkkonen said his government is committed to support the agriculture sector in Zambia as it has the potential to reduce poverty among the rural communities.
KELLY NJOMBO, Mansa