Friday, 11 December 2015

70 Motobikes for extension officers under Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up Project

 *By MacPherson Mukuka in Lusaka*


Agriculture Minister GIVEN LUBINDA says his Ministry intends to make conservation agriculture the official means of increasing farm productivity among small scale farmers and emergent producers in the country.

Mr. LUBINDA says most small scale farmers in rural areas experience relatively higher poverty levels due to low production and productivity and consequent food insecurity.

He says average maize yields among small scale farmers have been reducing from about 3 metric tonnes per hectare at independence to the current 1 point 3 metric tonnes per hectare thereby making some households food insecure.

Speaking during the handover of 70 Motor bikes to extension officers under the conservation Agriculture Scaling up project, Mr. LUBINDA says transport challenges has inhibited the ability by of field staff to effectively reach out to the intended beneficiaries of the project.

He says provision of the motor bikes will enhance provision of technical information and extension services on conservation agriculture to farmers.

Meanwhile, Mr. LUBINDA has cautioned all beneficiary staff to look after the motorbikes and use it for the intended purposes.

And Food Agriculture Organisation Country representative GEORGE OKECH says FAO has continued to provide technical and material support in various fields in the agriculture sector.

Mr. OKECH says the CASU project has piloted a number of initiatives critical to the delivery of extension services to farmers.

He says farmers a now able to receive and ask extension services through SMS, which enable them to chat with various expertise.

He further says the project is also implementing routine monitoring and reporting by extension officers which has contributed immensely towards the improvement of farmer to extension officer contacts.

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