Lubinda spells out ills in agriculture

LACK of investment in agriculture as well as weather and climate change is the reason the world fails to feed everybody, Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda has said.

Mr Lubinda said this at the Italian international agricultural forum expo 2015 in Milan on Thursday.

He said the agriculture sector in Zambia contributed between 20% and 23% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hence playing a critical role to the economy.

He said it was for this reason that the Zambian Government placed agriculture at the centre stage of economic growth.

“The agriculture sector in Zambia plays a critical role in the country’s economy. It contributes between 20% and 23% to the GDP. It is for this reason that the Zambian government has placed agriculture at the center stage of economic development hence the commitment to improved food and nutrition security for her people is exemplified by the robust policy framework supported by a number of programmes aimed at enhancing food and nutrition security,” Mr Lubinda said.

He was sad that despite the world producing enough food to feed the entire global population of 7 billion, one person in eight on the planet went to bed hungry each night.

“Too many developing countries lack key agricultural infrastructure such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation. High transport costs and lack of storage all conspire to limit agriculture yields and access to food,” he said.

Because of climate change and weather, Mr Lubinda said natural disaster and long periods of droughts were on the increase hence proving calamitous particularly in developing countries.

However Mr Lubinda said that the Zambian Government had put in place policies and strategies to ensure increased production.

He cited the farmer input support programme, crop diversification, irrigation and farm block development as some of the measures that will enable the country feed itself as well as the region.

Mr Lubinda called for continued cooperation with all stakeholders if food and national security was to be achieved.

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