KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
WORLD Bank Africa Group one executive director Andrew Bvumbe has urged Zambia to transform its agriculture potential into reality by placing emphasis on the promotion of agro-value chains.
And Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya says Government is modernising agriculture and will not allow people to settle in farm blocks without adequate infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity.
Speaking during the meeting with Ms Siliya at her office last Thursday, Mr Bvumbe said the bank is committed to support Zambia in its economic diversification agenda.
“We have seen potential, so let us make agriculture a reality through various interventions. The World Bank stands ready to provide comprehensive irrigation support to counteract the impact of climate change.
“Economic transformation through agriculture should be placed on value chains beyond food, for example, with cassava, value chains should involve production of starch, ethanol and other by-products,” he said.
Earlier, Ms Siliya said Government has embarked on measures that will see agriculture become the mainstay of the economy.
“We sourced US$115 million from the World Bank for the implementation of the irrigation development project, and we are on course to construct three dams in Chirundu, Chisamba and Mufulira districts. The funds are also being used to construct access roads and installation of electricity transmission lines.
“There is also construction of 457 houses to relocate and resettle households affected by the construction of the dams. We are sinking 45 boreholes to ensure provision of clean domestic water to all resettled households,” she said.
Ms Siliya said Government is spearheading the development of agricultural towns to enable agriculture become the anchor of the economy.
“We have stopped allowing people to settle in farm blocks that don’t have infrastructure; we want to see the model in Mazabuka to be replicated elsewhere.
“We want to change attitudes towards agriculture for people to look at it as a business and not as a practice that is passed on from generation to generation,” she said.