Govt sees need to strengthen agro research

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–Agriculture Minister, Bob Sichinga, said there is need to strengthen the capacity of the agricultural research system in Africa if the continent is to conform to the emerging agricultural innovations.

Mr. Sichinga said strengthening the research system in agriculture will enable the continent to have good food security with more profitable and improved social and political stability.

He cited fisheries agriculture as one area that the continent needs serious research, adding that the sector has the capacity to contribute positively to a sustainable food basket in the continent.

Mr. Sichinga also said there is need to intensify research programmes on other crops, such as legumes, which he said can be developed with desirable agronomic characteristics.

The Minister was speaking in Lusaka today when he officially opened a three day Workshop on Aquatic Agricultural Systems in Africa.

The workshop, which has drawn participants from various countries across Africa, is being held under the theme “Building Research in Development Alliances to Unlock the Economic Potential of Aquatic Environments in Africa”.

The Aquatic Agricultural Systems in Africa is a global programme aimed at resuscitating the fisheries sector and is being implemented in a number of countries including Zambia.

Mr Sichinga has since urged participants to ensure that they come up with validated research on how the aquatic agricultural systems in Africa can be well implemented.

Meanwhile, NEPAD Director of Programme, Implementation and Coordination, Estherine Fotabong commended Zambia for being one of the countries that have set a clear priority to developing the fisheries and agricultural sectors.

Mr Fotabong, however, said there is need for a continued fisheries and agricultural research renewal programmes if the two sectors were to contribute positively to the food basket of most African countries.