Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zambia signs conservation farming agreement
By Henry Sinyangwe
Thu 20 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA has signed a four-year conservation agriculture agreement with the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organisation aimed at increasing crop production.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative to Zambia George Okech said conservation agriculture approach had become a preferred means of promoting agriculturein the rural parts of Zambia.

"The CA approach has become a preferred means of promoting agriculture development for 40 per cent of rural population in Zambia who depend primarily on agriculture for survival. It saves labour, makes efficient use of inputs, produces higher yields and is environmentally friendly. It also provides better resilience against floods and prevents soil erosion," Okech said.

Soil degradation, high input prices, poor produce markets and poor market prices are some of the challenges the project will address.
According to a statement, the project would operate in three districts and work with both extension workers and progressive farmers to target 315,000 beneficiaries.

EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs said Zambia had made great progress in developing its agriculture and mining sectors.

"Yet despite its remarkable economic growth, Zambia is still one of the most unequal countries in the world. I hope that the agreement will help make sure that…the country's growth benefits the whole population, not just a few," he said.

Piebalgs also signed the contracts for the rehabilitation of Great East Road at a cost of EUR118 million and a financing agreement for support to non-state actors worth EUR5.5 million.

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