—-Agricultural authorities in Mkushi district have reported have recorded 6,500 individual farmers since commencing the on-going farmer registration exercise two months ago.
Mkushi District Agricultural Coordination Officer (DACO), Chiluba Wabalika, disclosed this to ZANIS, saying this figure specifically pertained to small scale farmers who owned small holder farms.
Mr Wabalika explained that his department had been conducting outreach counting on individual farmers by following them at their respective farms.
He said small and medium scale farmers had been targeted in the first phase of the exercise that was earmarked to encompass commercial farmers as well.
The DACO noted that logistical challenges were posing a challenge that hindered the exercise from being completed speedily, but maintained that frantic efforts were being applied to ensure that farmers of all scales are catered for in the program.
Mr Wabalika also reiterated his appeal to cooperatives to continue striving into becoming entities that would conduct income-generating activities throughout the year.
He pointed out that despite the district having more than 1,000 registered cooperatives, very few of them were active throughout the year.
He lamented that the majority of the cooperatives only became active during the phase that involved the acquisition of fertilizer and seed from the state-initiated Farmer Input Support Program (FISP).
Mr Wabalika stressed that his office was eager to see to it that cooperatives graduate into sustainable income generating entities.
He said that in view of this, the Department of Cooperatives had been consistent in fortifying this object by administering agro-enterprise skills to farmers.
He said apart from this, the District Agricultural Office was making concerted efforts to encourage individual farmers as well as cooperatives to scale up in practicing diversification in farming.