Malozo implores farmers, dealers to improved farming methods
By staff Reporter.
MUCHINGA Province Minister, Malozo Sichone has implored agricultural input suppliers in the province to compliment government efforts in improving crop productivity.
Sichone said government was concerned with the low crop yields per hectare recorded by farmers in the province.
Speaking during a Seedco Regional Field Day held at Mpika Farmers’ Training Centre, the minister bemoaned the average maize yield at three tonnes/hectare in the province when there was a potential yield ranging from 6 to 14 tonnes per hectare.
“Among the reasons why the farmers’ yields were low include: use of uncertified and recycled seed; poor land-use practices leading to soil infertility; late planting; untimely application of fertilizers and weeding; and inadequate information and knowledge on measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. I urged all agricultural input providers in Muchinga Province to supply inputs and provide services that would address the challenges of low crop productivity and subsequently increase crop productivity and production,” said Malozo.
Malozo challenged Seedco to embrace government’s crop diversification agenda by supplying hybrid seeds for crops such as common beans, groundnuts and soya beans to farmers in Muchinga.
“Due to good rainfall in Muchinga, the province has potential to become the national and regional food basket to the extent of exporting to Malawi and Mozambique where starvation is looming due to recent disasters caused by cyclone Idai and Kenneth,” he said.
And speaking at the same function Mpika District Agricultural Committee chairman, Chola Kakapu appealed to government to consider early and increased delivery of packages under the Farmer Input Support Programme to Muchinga Province in view of the province’s stable rainfall pattern.
“It was prudent for the allocation of more resources to less risky areas because it was from such areas that flood and drought prone areas could be fed from,” said Kakapu.
Meanwhile, Muchinga Provincial Agricultural Coordinator Dr Victor Mulopa, echoed the minister’s sentiments by disclosing that it was government’s vision to increase crop productivity and production so that small scale farmers attain household food security and income whilst contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“The ultimate goal was to raise the standard of living of the smallholder farmer who in turn contributes to increased Gross Domestic Product,” said Dr Mulopa.