President Edgar Lungu has predicted that the country will record a bumper harvest in the 2020/2021 farming season.
President Lungu says he is confident that this year, the country will have a bumper harvest because the maize crop planted across the country looks promising.
“This year, we are going to celebrate a bumper harvest. Am not a prophet, but I can see that there is a lot of maize coming through unless something goes wrong. Let us keep it up, we should be proud people because we work hard,” he said.
President Lungu said this when he addressed exhibitors who displayed various agricultural inputs during his visit to the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) in Chilanga this week.
Meanwhile, President Lungu attributed lack of innovation and scientific research as a contributing factor to many farmers being poor in the country.
President Lungu urged ZARI to assist farmers with improved seed varieties so as to enable them maximize on their investment and improve on crop production.
He wondered why some farmers are poor when the market for agricultural produce is readily available.
President Lungu counselled farmers to take advantage of the growing population by growing enough food to feed the people.
“All of us involved in farming should be rich people because the market is always there. When talk about farming everybody eats, so I do not see why a farmer should be poor when market is always there,” President Lungu said.
“What is making us poor is lack of innovation and lack of scientific research and approach to farming business, I want to thank ZARI, please keep it up continue helping the farmers to add value to their crop and maximize on their returns or investment,” he said.
President Lungu reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that the agriculture sector thrives.
The Head of State pointed out that the success of any farmer lays in the quality of seed planted and the good soils are also required for the seed to grow.
“As government, we want to involve ourselves starting from the soil, to the seed, water, to the product that comes out from the seed. We want to ensure that farmers get a good yield from the seed.
“I have learnt a lot of what ZARI is doing here, but allow me to say that they have realised that the secret of a successful farm is in the quality of seed. The seed does not go alone in the soil, but with how much water and nutrition is available,” said President Lungu.
The President has since commended the Ministry of Agriculture and ZARI staff for their commendable works in ensuring that the country is food secure.
And speaking earlier, Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo informed the President that the research activities being carried out at ZARI are responsive to the emerging trends in the agriculture sector.
Minister Katambo said the ministry is working towards expanding the research activities to cover different fruit and tree crops. – Lusaka Times