Thursday, October 1, 2015

Zambia targets one million hectares of farm block irrigation for youth-led agriculture development

By Friday Phiri

AGRF Opening ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia (PAMACC News) - “Growth in the agriculture sector is twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors”, declared Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, during the official opening of the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Lusaka.

And it seems the host country; Zambia is already in the process of ‘walking the talk on youth and women’ by embarking on a massive youth led agriculture development programme.

Zambia’s Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda told delegates that Zambia has embarked on a one million hectare youth led programme through the creation of ten farm blocks across the country.

“For us in Zambia, we are working extremely hard to make land available to youths through farm blocks, and we are targeting one million hectares in ten farm blocks across the country”, said Mr. Lubinda, pointing out that time had come to change the notion that farming was for retired and tired.

“And in supporting women, our policy is that no less than 30% of opened up land is reserved for women”, he explained, adding that the policy is under further review to increase the threshold for women land ownership which has been identified as a hindrance to their effective participation in agriculture development.

And Zambia’s Vice President, Inonge Wina said the Southern African country is eager for huge investments in the agriculture sector as 58% of its 75 million hectares of land is classified as medium to high potential for agriculture development.

“For us in Zambia, involving women and youth is a key development pillar that we treat seriously”, Mrs Wina told delegates, and further called on the forum to take into account Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s that relate to agriculture for effective implementation of strategies.

The AGRF which opened on 29th September and closing on 2nd October, is being held under the theme: “Walking the talk on youth and women: bringing inclusive agricultural markets to life.”

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