President Lungu said this will help to boost supply not only among the farming communities but other sectors of the country.
President Lungu made the directive when he officiated at the 114th Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) Annual Congress in Lusaka.
The congress was held under the theme “Harnessing agricultural innovations”.
President Lungu said Government has been making frantic efforts to diversify energy for Zambia to avoid relying only on hydro power.
He also directed Zesco to complement hydro power with solar energy by mid next year so that load shedding is permanently consigned to history.
“My government is encouraged to hear that farmers are making efforts to diversify the agricultural sector. Venturing into new commodities is one sure way of sustainable farming. There is urgent need for us to begin to actualize our pronouncements not only in the agriculture sector but other areas of our economy. My Government will remain steadfast in delivering development in the country’s urban and rural areas,” President Lungu said.
He said his administration’s unwavering commitment is conspicuous in infrastructure programme where unprecedented road development has been laid out across the country.
President LUngu noted that with a good road network in urban and rural areas, growth in the agriculture sector should now be seen because agricultural produce is easily being transported to respective markets.
“Let me assure our livestock farmers that my Government is working round the clock to address animal diseases which have continued to reverse the gains made by our livestock farming community. Further, the rampant stock thefts that livestock farmers continue to face is of great concern to my Government. The Zambian Police should ensure that culprits are brought to book and severe punishment meted out on perpetrators to deter would be offenders,” said President Lungu.
Earlier, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo said lessons learnt together with the private sector in developing joint action plans for the maize industry will better prepare all to now tackle the issues affecting the cassava industry.
“Your Excellency, at the beginning of the year, you instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen it’s ties with the private sector; and in particular, you told the ministry that it should develop a strong working relationship with all stakeholders in the agricultural industry and jointly chart the way forward and resolve the many issues affecting the sector. I am happy to report, Your Excellency, that we are working very well with the Zambia National Farmers Union,” said Katambo.
“This year, I can assure you, Your Excellency, that we have worked very closely with the agriculture industry stakeholders to resolve the bottlenecks that have affected the growth of the maize industry. We have consulted stakeholders such as ZNFU, Grain Traders Association of Zambia and the Millers Association of Zambia and have jointly developed action plans which will ensure the sustainable growth of the maize industry in Zambia.”
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba said the importation of agricultural products which the country can produce is ever increasing.
“Therefore, there is need to escalate the Buy Zambia Campaign and entrenchment of patriotism. For example, why can’t chain stores bringing in milk in branded boxes pack locally produced milk in those boxes? Why can’t takeaway food franchise outlets use local potatoes for their chips? Such examples are many and engineering domestic solutions to address such loopholes will result in better access to markets by farmers,” said Zimba.
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