From CHIKUMBI KATEBE
Government will continue to support small holder farmers in its quest to divert the country’s economic dependence from minerals to agro-based, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) president Kanayo Nwanze has expressed delight at President Lungu’s intentions to counter global warming by developing an agro-based economy through the small holder farmer support programmes currently underway in Zambia.
Dr Nwanze said IFAD and Zambia had an elaborate and vibrant collaboration.
“Now with the drought, we try and see whatever we can do to support the country’s national efforts to counter the effects particularly in rural areas to support rural people in development. We are pleased to know that President Lungu now has a better understanding of what IFAD is all about, and our working together in the country,” he said.
Dr Nwanze said IFAD enjoyed an overall positive interaction with the Zambian Government in addressing the drastic effects of climate change, through various Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) programmes run by the organization.
He explained that IFAD was already supporting what he described as a climate smart programme called the adaptation for small holder agriculture to climate change which was a school financing agricultural programme for various countries around the Africa.
The IFAD president said the programme was scheduled to run from 2016-2018 as an agro-diversification project especially to benefit the rural population.
He charged that agro-diversification should provide alternative economic empowerment for the country’s dependence on copper as previously proved during past drought experiences that agriculture was more reliable in any economic development.
“It remains the soul of a nation’s future with necessary and relevant agriculture policies including rural finance incentives and infrastructure developments in terms of improving the road network to create access for input support and markets for their produce,” he said.
President Lungu was in e Italy where he met with IFAD and the Food and Agricultural Organsiation (FAO) to strategise on mitigation efforts on global warming that has affected food security across Southern Africa.