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Zambia’s First Lady appeals to govt. & stakeholders to scale up conservation farming

By Catherine Kalumba

Zambia’s First Lady Thandiwe Banda has appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and cooperating partners to consider scaling up conservation farming by engaging small scale farmers from across the country.

Mrs. Banda said there was need to increase the number of districts practicing in conservation farming programmes from the current twelve districts countrywide.

She was speaking during the handover of 588 bicycles to lead farmers practicing conservation farming in Kapiri district.

She noted that all districts in the country have not been spared by the effects of climate change hence the need for them to adopt new methods of farming.

Mrs. Banda also observed that Kapiri Mposhi was centrally located, had fertile soils and had the potential to produce a lot of food for consumption as well as for sale.

She therefore urged small-scale farmers to take advantage of the financial support from the European Union and the Royal Norwegian government in complimenting government efforts to better their lives.

She also urged women in the area to take a leading role in conservation farming saying they needed to count themselves lucky for being among the few people that were receiving funding for the promotion of conservation farming.

The First lady also pledged her continued support to the scaling up of conservation farming and said she was willing and ready to attend functions aimed at promoting conservation farming whenever she was called upon by the farmers.

Mrs. Banda finally appealed to extension farmers to reach out to small-scale farmers in their respective camps and encourage them to adopt conservation farming and further urged the bicycle recipients to use their bicycles to educate their counterparts.

And Food and Agriculture Organization Country, FAO, Representative Noureddine Mona has pledged his organization’s commitment to continue working with government to help farmers increase their productive.

Dr. Mona said Zambia farmers were facing a lot of challenges which have resulted into poor crop yields and low profits to the farming business.

He said the solution to this poor agriculture productivity is embracing better methods of farming such as conservation farming.

He urged lead farmers to help other small-scale farmers adopt conservation farming practices to enhance their crop productivity.

Dr. Mona further implored lead farmers to use the bicycles they had received to educate other farmers on the importance and benefits of conservation farming.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Representative Lackson Kaluba commended the European Union and the Royal Norwegian Government for their continued support to small-scale farmers.

Mr. Kaluba said without the support from cooperating partners, it would have been very difficult for the ministry to manage to support all the small-scale farmers in the country.

He said so far, conservation farming was being implemented in at least five provinces which included Lusaka, Eastern, Western, Southern and Central Provinces of which thousands of small-scale farmers were participating.

He said it was the intention of the Ministry to have more and more farmers engaging in conservation farming which was cheaper and convenient for all farmers.

Mr. Kaluba finally urged all small scale farmers to participate in conservation farming in order to ensure high productive.

ENDS/CK/KB/ZANIS

May 21, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment