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Zambia poised for bumper harvest

VISITING International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) senior agronomist Christian Thierfelder says Zambia will be food-secure again this year, with farmers having more disposable incomes at household level.
Dr Thierfelder said Zambian small-scale farmers have the capacity to boost food and income security at household level if they practice conservation and mechanised farming.
He said the simple farming technology of conservation boosts production and does not need much use of fertiliser.
Dr Thierfelder, who is also a researcher, visited Sinda, Chipata and Lundazi districts where they toured selected demo-fields under the project, Africa-RISING, which is being funded by the United States government’s Feed the Future Programme.
“We are supporting over a thousand farmers in Sinda, Chipata and Lundazi and in the last five years we have been teaching them conservation farming so that they can be food and income-secure,” he said.
Dr Thierfelder said CIMMYT, in the last five years had been doing trial research in the selected three districts which had so far shown that conservation farming was the way to go.
He said inter-cropping and crop rotation had been found to increase yields and improve soil fertility.
Dr Thierfelder said there would be no hunger among farmers, but that they would have more income guaranteed  and food secure.
He said the future was in the hands of the farmer and not government or researchers.
Dr Thierfelder said in the near future farmers, would be using two-wheeled tractors during tillage as opposed to the traditional manual tilling.
He said once a farmer was food and income-secure, it was easy to fight poverty.
Dr Thierfelder said conservation farming also promoted soil fertility and did not use a lot of herbicide which destroys soil.
He said once conservation was adopted and applied at a large scale, Zambian farmers would always be food and income-secure.

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