By SANDRA MACHIMA
THE Zambian Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative (ZARDI) in conjunction with Community Welfare Assistance Organisation Project has started engaging farmers for winter maize and horticulture farming in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
ZARDI executive director Gilbert Mpanga said this would help the country’s agriculture sector to boost economy in the wake of covid-19 which has left more countries economically handicapped.
He said ZARDI was targeting about 600 farmers to prepare for winter maize.
“We want to promote winter maize at high rate as it is the profitable and sustainable to farmers, so 600 farmers will be engaged in this programme and the project is starting with the Copperbelt, Lusaka and North-Western provinces.
Mr Mpanga said the best way to sustain the people during this time was to ensure a lot were engaged in agriculture that had remained as a source of income.
He said Zambia could still make it with more support to activities that brought bring food to the table such as the agriculture.
“We want to inform farmers on Copperbelt and North-western provinces that the ZARDI initiative in conjunction with other stakeholders will start registering farmers for winter maize and horticulture farming.
“This will supplement the effort put in place to improve agriculture which will be a backbone for the country’s economy,” he said.
Mr Mpanga cited among other stakeholders, Advanta seed and Nitrophos Fertilizers, who would be suppliers for the project.
And Mr Mpanga further said negotiations for 2020 – 2021 farming input supplies had started in a bid to improve the agriculture sector in the country.
He urged farmers not to relent on diversifying their farming activities so that more crops could be grown for local consumption as well as export.
He said farmers were required to pay 50 percent towards all the inputs which comprised a 10kg of seed, and four bags of fertiliser for only two limas, starting to start in May.
By SANDRA MACHIMA