By REBECCA MUSHOTA
GOVERNMENT has invested in various sustainable agriculture initiatives
in order to boost the productivity of small scale farmers and avert
food shortages in view of the current and future effects of dry spells
and flooding, the minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo has said.
Mr Katambo said Government had embarked on various initiatives to
respond to the challenges caused by climate change like flooding and
He said despite the current and future effects of climate change like
dry spells and flooding, Government wanted to ensure that small scale
farmers who formed the majority if farmers in Zambia sustained their
produce and the country boosted its food security.
According to the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) website, some
parts of the country have received less than normal rainfall with some
districts recording less than five millimetres of rainfall this
Other parts of Zambia have received above normal rainfall with some districts
receiving up to 125 millimetres and experienced floods.
Stakeholders have expressed concern that the flooding and the dry
spells would result in a compromised food production following reduced
Mr Katambo said in an interview that Government has over the years
embarked on initiatives to respond to the effects of climate change by
making agriculture of small scale farmers sustainable and innovative.
He said research has been conducted by the Zambia Agriculture Research
Initiative (ZARI) which indicate that adverse climate effects would
perpetually cause agriculture effects such as attacks of the Fall army
worm and crop diseases such as the cassava brown stick.
“We have therefore in partnership with cooperating partners started
producing 13 varieties of seed that are drought resistant and engaged
in risk financing for small scale farmers,” Mr Katambo said.
He said farmers have been told to pay K100 towards insurance as part
of risk financing.
Government has started constructing over 100 dams in various districts
to promote irrigation farming.
The ministry of Agriculture has deployed agricultural officers to
sensitise farmers on climate change and the importance of crop
diversification and growing drought resistant crops like cashew in
Mr Katambo said drought pests like Red locusts and diseases would now
be an annual feature in Zambia because of warm temperature caused by
climate change and so farmers should work with Government to increase
activities to promote sustainable agriculture.
According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) released this year, populations at higher risk
of adverse consequences with global
warming include communities dependent on agricultural livelihoods.