Zambia has adopted climate smart agriculture in its quest to contribute to the country and the continent’s quest to be food secure through the use of drought resistant ‘tree’ seed amid unprecedented climatic change effects and the COVID 19.
The Southern African state has recent years been the regional food basket after many suffered poor yields heightened by drought, floods and other natural calamities. Despite the country recording to a 25% deficit last season, climate smart agriculture would reverse all loses and bolster food output.
Arguably, CSA, an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries—operates on four dimensions-food security: availability, access, stability, and utilization. It seeks to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.
Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo says the recent shortcomings in agriculture output on maize, soya beans, cassava and other cash crops spurred by climatic change has helped the country look beyond rain-fed agriculture practices and adopting the new concept would help sustain crop and food production.
Despite the Government subsidising farmers, chiefly the small holder farmers through Farmer Input Support Program(FISP) and extension services, providing 6 bags of fertiliser and 10 kilograms of seeds each farmer getting 25 kilogramms of soya beans or groundnuts, has not helped attain the country’s desire to remain a major food producer hence adopted the smarter way of farming.
“We want to change the scope of farmer input support programme to a general agriculture support pogramme by giving the farmer trees which are tolerant can be planted anytime and last for 30-years and is comprehensive in nature and able to withstand drought as it is smart against the climate” he told FRA in an interview.
Minister Mtolo notes that with the Government seeking to be one of the continent’s major food producers, using both organic and inorganic methods to produce variety of food, adopting the climate smart agriculture was more sustainable way as oranges and other’ tree type of seed’ are resistant and are able to keep moisture with the seed being able to be kept for a long time be replanted in future.
During the July 17-20 African Union Mid-term meeting hosted by Zambia, President Hakainde Hichilema challenged Africa to innovate to become food self-sufficient. Zambia is desirous and well-placed to take the first step and weather the global food crisis worsened by the war in Ukraine through a ‘home grown’ food production agenda to defray costs and fight poverty.
During his earlier trip to the European Parliament in Brussels, President Hichilema noted the increasing devastating effect of food insecurity in all regions of the African continent but stressed Zambia’s readiness to face the challenge in ensuring it was “the continent’s ‘food centre pivot’.
Despite Zambia nursing the debt burden, it is eager to be a major food contributor and in the fight against food insecurity. He commended the European Union for cooperating and assisting on agricultural projects and insulates the continent against the food shocks caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The July 17-20 African Union 4th mid-year meeting hosted by Zambia and themed: “Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent” challenged farmers on the continent to boost agricultural production and help insulate against drought that has devastated the Horn of Africa. The United Nations estimated over 280 million people on the continent lacked access to adequate food by last year.