About 100,000 smallholder maize farmers are earmarked to benefit from the Zambia Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Programme (ZAMSAP) in agronomic education and training by 2018, North Western province permanent secretary Ephraim Mateyo has said.

Speaking during the official launch of the ZAMSAP Solwezi field, Mr Mateyo said the programme would strengthen the maize value chain in the isolated markets of North Western and Northern Zambia where market access is low and would focus on empowering women and youth farming communities which are typically marginalised from access to markets.

He said the four year programme which is being implemented by Dupont Pioneer in partnership with Musika (Z) as well as government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Gender and Child Development to boost the productivity of the smallholder farmers.

“This is in line with the objective of the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture because the training will follow farmer field school approach as enshrined in the Ministry of Agriculture extension strategy,” Mr Mateyo said.

He said to date about 274 demonstration plots have been planted by 206 women groups, 57 youth groups and 11 schools across the 10 districts in North Western, Northern, Luapula and Muchinga provinces where the project is being carried.

“In Solwezi alone about 97 demonstration plots have been planted of which 49 are women farming communities and 43 are youth farming communities, he said.

The permanent secretary thanked Dupont Pioneer and Musika (Z) for accelerating Agriculture development in Zambia through ZAMSAP partnership.

Earlier, Dupont Pioneer managing director Munyaradzi Mutsvairo said apart from working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Gender and Child Development and Musika (Z), his organisation was also working with the Global harvest initiative in enhancing the productivity of smallholder farmers in the four provinces of North western, Northern, Luapula and Muchinga provinces.

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