Government has assured farmers in Nkeyema District in Western Province that it will purchase the 2013/2014 maize produce at a reasonable price.
Nkeyema District Commissioner Yuvwenu Kashandola made the announcement when he opened Shishamba Camp Agriculture and Commercial Show under the theme, “2014 breaking new ground” May 2nd.
Mr Kashandola encouraged farmers to engage in conservation farming in order to rejuvenate the soils which were now becoming less productive and unsustainable in the area.
He said farmers in the area should practice crop diversification to ensure food security, adding that it is only through crop diversification that a variety of crops can be grown.
Mr Kashandola said the government will continue supporting farmers through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) so that small scale farmers graduate into commercial farming.
And Shishamba Block Show Society Chairperson Linda Nkumbula, has called on agricultural extension workers to strengthen farmer sensitization as regards the use of herbicides in order to contain the problem of weed infestation.
Mrs Nkumbula said the continuous invasion of weeds on maize fields has routinely led to farmers abandoning maize fields.
She added that about 30 to 40 percent of Zambia’s maize fields get abandoned as a result of weed infestation resulting in poor yields.
Mrs Nkumbula has appealed to government to ensure that farming inputs under FISP for 2014/15 are delivered on time to enable farmers prepare adequately.
She said the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries should provide funding for the successful hosting of agriculture and commercial block shows in order for farmers to contribute effectively to the food basket of the country.
Mrs Nkumbula has encouraged farmers to continue exhibiting at agriculture and commercial shows in order for them to learn new techniques from their fellow farmers.