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PF 2016-21- UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Dear Editor,
IN the times of antiquities and more than four decades after independence, the agricultural sector has been widely seen as the preserve of the low income earners.


However, the post 2011 era brought about a paradigm shift and transformative approach with regard to public perception about agriculture.


Agriculture is now among the most chased after in- come earning initiatives and it is slowly identifying itself as a lucrative hobby among Zambians.


Ever since its assuming office, the Patriotic Front government has made various strides aimed at reforming the agriculture sector. The agricultural sector is no longer seen as the default way of in- come earning but its commercial face is slowly but surely unfolding.

This is attributed to the knowledge base which has been expanded among the Zambians and the variety of agricultural alternatives that have been presented.
Alookatpage15ofthe PF manifesto (2021-26) has demonstrated political will by aiding the marginalised people in society to secure their meaningful participation in the diversified agricultural activities.


The importance of page 15 is to among other things, establish an agricultural institution to support the sector with a bias toward youth and women farmers. It is clear that once the PF mandate is renewed after the general elections, the PF government seeks “to embark on a number of institutional initiatives that will elevate Zambia as a food basket of Southern Africa.
Agricultural diversification will only be harnessed by putting in place necessary institutions which will enable
diversification.


The capacitation of the Zambia Research Institute (ZARI), an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture is a progressive way of establishing the agriculture driven Zambia in the years to come. ZARI is the largest agriculture research institute and it has over 10 research station across the country and its principal aims are to develop and adopt crop, soil and plant protection technologies and to provide high quality, appropriate and cost effective services to agriculture.

It is clear with the environment for knowledge base the data collected from evidence-based research, there is an assurance of having a diversified agricultural sector. The promise of promoting the graduation of 100, 000 small holder farmers to commercial agriculture per year as promised in the 2021-26 PF manifesto will therefore soon become a reality.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI,

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