By CASSEY KAYULA –
THE Zambian Forum for Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services (ZAFAAS) has urged Government to promote professionalism in agriculture extension and advisory services delivery.
ZAFAAS national secretary Vincent Akamandisa said there was need for improved agricultural production and productivity by ensuring that workers responsible for implementation of extension programmes have right competencies.
He said this in a statement released in Lusaka recently.
“The forum is saddened to note that the Ministry of Agriculture which focuses on crop extension and advisory services has employed veterinary surgeons as crops extension and advisory service supervisors responsible for such programmes like fertiliser distribution through the e-voucher.
The officers were also combating army worm outbreaks instead of qualified agronomists and entomologists,” Mr Akamandisa said.
He said staple crop productivity among small scale farmers in the country was far below that of commercial farmers which could be attributed partly to use of individuals with wrong competencies to provide extension and advisory services.
Mr Akamandisa further urged Government to recruit more qualified extension officers in crops, fisheries and livestock sub-sectors.
“It is a well-known fact that low agriculture production and productivity leads to low availability of nutritious food which can lead to an increase in nutrition,” he said.
He said the forum would support Government’s measures aimed at improving agricultural extension and advisory services delivery to better save small scale farmers.