Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya has assured Zambians that no one will starve despite the partial drought being experienced in some parts of the country.
And Siliya says government is already putting in place measures to ensure food secure.
According to Kellys Kaunda who is Zambia’s First Secretary for Press at the country’s Embassy in Berlin Germany, Siliya was speaking in an interview Tuesday, on the sidelines of the German-Africa Business Association meeting.
Siliya said no Zambian would go hungry despite the poor rainfall.
“Zambians will not go hungry despite a disappointing rainy season the country has experienced so far. You won’t starve as government takes stock of the expected impact of the partial drought the country is experiencing. Some parts of the country have been particularly affected with crops that were earlier planted going to waste due to poor rainfall. In Ecological Zone One, that is Southern Province, parts of Western Province and parts of Eastern Province, we have seen that there has actually been a drought. We have experienced no rains in those areas leading to the failure of crops like maize,” she observed.
Siliya pledged that going forward, government would increase its investment in harvesting rain-water and the construction of dams to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
“As expected, the country has seen more rains in Ecological Zone Three consisting of northern regions of Zambia; the Copperbelt, Central Province and North Western Province. However, it is in these areas where the soil is quite acidic and you don’t really expect a lot of return on the hectares in terms of harvest. Going forward government is expected to increase its investment in harvesting rain-water and the construction of dams thereby reducing dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Especially in Ecological Zone One which is Southern Province, we need to invest in bulk water sites. We have to dam the country. Small dams will have to be made throughout the country so that farming may continue aided by irrigation whether there has been rainfall or not,” Siliya said.
“Sadly in some parts of the country farmers may have to replant just so that they may get something out of this year’s rain season. There has been some indication that rains might begin to fall in some parts of the country. We pray for divine intervention that the army worm attack is controlled and that it is not as devastating as it was last year so that we may salvage something from our crops,” she said.
Siliya said government would not hesitate to make tough decisions if need be, to ensure that the country is food secure.
“My Ministry is monitoring the situation to ensure food security, food that is accessible and food that is affordable. My Ministry is also monitoring the region for the impact of the partial drought as there are reports of countries equally affected. We have asked all the districts to continue giving us reports so that in the next few weeks, we assess the impact of the partial drought and that of the army worms. Last year the Zambian government made some tough decisions that affected the private sector so that the food security of its citizens was assured. Similarly, an elected government as that of President Edgar Lungu will not hesitate to make tough decisions if need be, to make sure Zambians are food secure,” said Siliya.
“Experts have warned that climate change will continue to affect food security and energy supply unless countries adopt measures to mitigate their impact. On its part, the Zambian government has stepped up engagement with various global partners since the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany last year in mobilising resources intended for investment in climate-smart technologies.”