Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Zambia: State Moots Agro Boost Plan

GOVERNMENT will soon embark on drawing up detailed investment plans to enhance various types of investment development in the agricultural sector.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Emmanuel Chenda, said when he officiated at the launch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2012 African Human Development report in Lusaka yesterday that the detailed investment plans, when finalised, would direct the flow of investments in the agricultural sector.
He said Government's key strategies and interventions in the agricultural sector included extending support to crops beyond maize, strengthening research and extension services.
The minister said the Government would invest in irrigation, development and rehabilitation of livestock infrastructure, control and eradication of livestock diseases and promotion of sustainable fisheries.
The Government would reform the agricultural marketing system and input programmes, promote agro-processing and value-addition, use of high seed varieties and proven agricultural practices like conservation farming.
"This will be done through enhanced extension services by strengthening both public and community participation in improving productivity through cooperatives and other farmer organisations," Mr Chenda said.
He said the Government was aware that good nutrition underpinned progress and led to enhanced education and health outcomes that consequently contributed to improved economic development.
Mr Chenda said in the agricultural sector, the Government's focus was on advocating promotion of nutritious diets through crop diversification, adequate food processing, storage and utilisation.
And the UNDP 2012 African Human Development Report has urged African countries to overcome under-nourishment that afflicts more than a quarter of their people if they are to realise their full potential.
The report said food security was a precondition for sustained human development.
"Africa still trails the world in human development but the quickening pace of change and the new economic vitality on the continent offers ground for renewed optimism," the report reads.
UNDP senior economist, Roberto Tibana presented the report during the launch at the Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday under the theme 'Towards a Food Secure Future'.
And UNDP country director Viola Morgan said enhancing food security in the Sub-Saharan region was based on raising agricultural production to strengthen nutrition through a multiple agricultural value.
Ms Morgan said the report was vital to providing a framework for analysis and policy guidelines that would construct a comprehensive response to food security.

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