Appropriate skills key in crop production

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Zambia flood
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OXFAM Zambia says the government needs to integrate appropriate technologies that will enhance crop productivity in the country.
The company says most farmers use recycled seed and are reluctant in adopting new and improved varieties.
According to the company’s policy brief for the first quarter of 2013, the productivity level of maize, groundnuts and cotton in the country still remain much to be desired.
“Although the national agricultural policy (NAP) provides the development of the informal seed sector by providing accessibilities of basic seed to breeders, findings reveal that farmers are unable to sort groundnuts according to varieties and grades due to lack of capacity in sorting techniques,” it says.
For maize, the report says most farmers receive inadequate inputs through the farmer input support programme hence they buy fertiliser and weed killers from agro-dealers to supplement the subsidised inputs.
Oxfam says although cotton farmers indicate that they receive quality seed throughout out-grower schemes offered by ginnery companies, they still face challenges in the production of cotton, and other crops such as groundnuts.
It says there is need to organise tannings at ground level regarding the use of new improved varieties to boost productivity for farmers that grow groundnuts because they are reluctant in adopting new improved varieties due to information irregularity.
“The NAP is not being implemented effectively as farmers [that grow groundnuts] indicated that they still use recycled seed largely available from informal sources,” it says.
Commenting on the crop productivity for the 2011/12 crop forecast survey, it says Copperbelt performed better than Eastern Province hence the need to assess the scope of replicating the practices implored former to improve productivity in other provinces.

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