State cheered by EU,FAO farmer support
Mkushi, April 4, 2013,ZANIS—Government has saluted its cooperating partners for identifying themselves with efforts made by small scale farmers to boost the agricultural sector in Mkushi district.
The government has singled out the European Union (EU) and the Food agriculture Organisation (FAO) for acknowledging the agriculture prowess of Mkushi district.
Mkushi district commissioner Christopher Chibuye said this during a hand-over ceremony where the EU handed over a leased tractor to a beneficiary small scale farmer in Mkushi’s Nkolonga area yesterday.
Mr. Chibuye said that it was gratifying to learn that collaboration involving the EU and the FAO had selected Mkushi district to be among the few areas to benefit from the project.
He noted that under the Farmer Input Support Response Initiative project, the EU and FAO had been working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to promote the use of mechanized farming methods among small scale Farmers.
He said that this collaboration was illustrative of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) that Government welcomed in the quest to consolidate agriculture as a source of livelihood.
Mr. Chibuye reiterated that to this effect, President Michael Sata’s Government was committed to promoting agriculture in order to reduce poverty among Zambians.
He said Government was also cheered to learn that the Zambia National Farmers Union had been brought on board with the aim of enhancing linkages between Farmers, Ministry of Agriculture , FAO and the EU.
He urged small scale farmers in the district to learn from their colleague Felix Bemba, about the strides and benchmarks that qualified a farmer to be selected for a tractor Loan.
Mr. Chibuye pointed out that out of 34,000 small scale farmers of Mkushi, Mr. Bemba was the only one chosen to benefit from the loaned tractor initiative saying that his testimony was cardinal for the other farmers.
During the same ceremony, Mkushi Farmers Association Chairperson Andrew Moffat described the development as a welcome move.
Mr. Moffat said that small scale Farmers were generally faced challenges such as access to loans to enable them acquire agriculture equipment such as tractors.
He urged other organizations to emulate the EU and FAO in devoting more assistance towards small scale farmers in acquiring mechanized farming equipment.
Mr. Moffat said that such assistance to small scale farmers is likely to boost their production capacity adding that this would be in line with the objective of promoting agriculture from the lowest level.
ZANIS / ENDS / CM / CSB———————DRY.