Sunday, 12 March 2017

NUSFAZ WELCOMES CALL TO LIFT EMPLOYMENT FREEZE IN THE AGRIC SECTOR



By MacPherson Mukuka in Lusaka




The National Union of Small Scale Farmers of Zambia NUSFAZ has backed Minister of Agriculture DORA SILIYA’s call to lift the employment freeze on extension services in the Ministry.

NUSFAZ Director General FRANK KAYULA says it is true that there is a shortage of extension officers in the country.

Dr. KAYULA says the current ratio of extension officer to farmers is worrisome and needs urgent attention stating that employing more extension officers is the lasting solution.

He says it is too much for one extension officer to be offering agriculture extension services to more than one Thousand farmers.

Dr. KAYULA has noted that it is perhaps the reason the agriculture is not performing according to expectation.

He says sometimes the extension officer goes off the limit and attends to about 13 thousand small scale farmers.

And Dr. KAYULA has further called on the Ministry of agriculture to consider adopting ICT’s in the delivery of agriculture extension information and services to farmers.    

He says ICT’s have proved to be one of the effective ways of reaching out to many people in information sharing and service delivery.

He says although most small scale farmers do not have access to android powered gadgets such as smart mobile phones, it is vital that the Ministry to embark of such a venture.

He says once that is done; farmers will be encouraged and may end up buying the gadgets for their benefit. 

Last Friday, Minister of Agriculture DORA SILIYA called for the lifting of the employment freeze on extension services in her sector to bridge the gap between farmers and extension officers.

MS SILIYA said currently one extension officer provides extension services to over 1-Thousand farmers which makes it difficult for the dissemination of extension messages to farmers.

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