BY SAM PHIRI and SARAH MWANZA -
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma has said agriculture is the bedrock of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as more than 80 per cent of people depend on it for livelihood and employment.
Mr Zuma said the performance of Agriculture in the region has a strong influence on food security, economic growth and stability.
Speaking when he officially opened this year’s Agriculture and Commercial show in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Zuma said the forces of agriculture remained high on the priority list and was of critical importance to the region.
“Considering the variation of weather pattern in the region, there is need to review the work done on the regional food reserve facility in order to improve the regional food basket,” Mr Zuma said.
He said the regional food reserve system would provide SADC with a mechanism of preventing and preparing for adverse impact and shocks to food security.
“This is more important given the negative impact of climate change which has a serious threat to agriculture and food security in the region,” he said.
President Zuma said climate change was another challenge that affected the three pillars of food security which are food availability, access, and nutrition
He said this year’s theme of the show (Promoting a Green Economy) responds positively to the challenges of climate-change and takes into account the inter-dependency between economic growth, social protection and protecting the natural eco-system.
“Our two countries share the same vision on matters of development and sustainable growth and should corporate towards the development of capacity in green technology and industries,” he said
He said the agriculture show had relevance beyond Zambia and its alignment with the Africa Union agenda 2063.
Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu said Zambia and South African had shared long bilateral ties and would continue to learn from each other.
He said Zambia was enjoying a good political climate contrary to speculations that there was political unease in the nation.
President Lungu said the detention of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was on grounds that he was a suspect and he would allow the law to take its cause.
He challenged Mr Hichilema to accept the 2016 results as SADC and other international observers had declared him legitimate winner.
“As media, I challenge you to ask him why he is not accepting the results and let him show you the evidence that he won and I will be ready to listen to him,” he said.
Mr Zuma arrived yesterday at Kenneth Kaunda international airport around 8:50 hours and was welcomed by his counterpart President Lungu.
The South African Head of State was accorded a 21-gun salute, inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by the Zambia Amy before proceeding to State House where he held private talks with his host.
President Zuma also took time to visit the First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda whom he described as “sound and strong” before touring various stands at the show grounds with President Lungu.
President Zuma presented some awards to some deserving exhibitors of with Zesco awarded the overall prize.