Communications Minister Brian Mushimba says government will strengthen early warning systems to help farmers prevent and mitigate climate change related hazards.

According to a statement issued by Ministry of Transport and Communications head of public relations Maimbolwa Mulikelela today, Mushimba said early warning of shocks such as floods, extreme temperatures and droughts was a good way of mitigating climate change.

He noted that investing in capacity to generate information and forecasting of climate-related hazards was the way to go.

“This is why my ministry is working with development partners such the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to strengthen the early warning systems. This will largely be done through improving national capacities of Meteorological Department under the Ministry of Transport and Communications to observe, generate and disseminate climate information,” Mushimba said.

“As government we are mainstreaming climate change adaptation into the country’s development plans and strategies. We are addressing these vulnerabilities through the Seventh National Development Pan (7NDP) which is an integrated development approach the under theme ‘Accelerating Development Efforts Towards the Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind’. Through this development plan, the Government seeks to enhance decentralized climate information services for early warning and long-term projections on the effects of climate change to support sustainable management of the production systems, infrastructure development and public health.”

Mushimba revealed that government had developed the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) which highlighted that Zambian communities were vulnerable to climatic hazards which affect the sustainability of rural livelihoods.

He said promoting the agriculture sector through vital weather information was important especially now that government had prioritized diversifying the economy to move it away from over-reliance on its traditional products and export, such as copper.

“The total contribution of agriculture to Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaged 9.8 per cent in the period 2006 to 2015. The government’s partnership with UNDP in this regard is helping the country follow a climate-resilient development path, consistent with our poverty reduction and sustainable development objectives. My Ministry will endeavor to provide sector and location tailored weather and climate products and services and updates to aid in agriculture activities for a good harvest,” said Mushimba.