Mumbwa district commissioner Charles Hampende has advised other DCs to encourage and support farmers in their areas to diversify into cash crops like soya beans, considering the crop’s high market value and nutritional levels, as a way of supplementing the.
Mr Hampende said farmers played a huge role towards economic development and needed to be supported for them adopt crop diversification in the forthcoming rainy season.
He said most Zambian farmers were relying on the same crops because they were not knowledgeable about others crops like soya, whose nutritional levels supplemented its high market value, hence the need for DCs to sensitize their people on other crops.
“People should grow crops according to the market value and soya beans currently has a very high market value. Right now, a 50kg bag of soya beans costs about K187 while that of maize is about K75. This is the reason why farmers need to capitalise on the crop,” he said.
He added that a lot of farmers were currently paying high prices in fertilizer but soya beans in some cases did not need fertilizer, or needs only very little.
“Unlike other crops, soya beans needs very little fertilizer which makes it cheap to crow. And its inputs are very affordable, so why can’t people capitalize on the crop?” he said.
Mr Hampende said Mumbwa residents were becoming more reliant on the crop, especially women raising infants whose mothers passed away at a tender age, as they used it in place of breast milk.
He said Government was doing a lot to support soya beans farmers in his district, saying his office has already gone to agriculture extension offices, thereby creating rapport with farmers.
He noted that more needed to be done to support soya bean farmers based in far-flung rural areas.
Mr Hampende encouraged youths to get involved in farming, targeting cash crops like soya beans so as to improve their livelihoods.