Govt signs an agreement to grow the Agriculture sector

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Government has signed commercial agreements with two Israeli Companies in the Agricultural sector.

Minister of Agriculture Micheal Katambo who made the disclosure said the financing agreement will be finalized next week.

The Commercial Agreements will see the two companies TAHAR ZRB and Green 2000 establish farming blocks were Zambian Farmers will be trained in more techniques of Agriculture. The investors will bring with them mechanized equipment that will also encourage Zambian farmers not to wholly rely on rain fed agriculture.

The Minister also said the Israeli Government had increased scholarships for Zambians training in Agriculture from 15 to 30.He said this would see more Zambians being trained in Agriculture that was becoming the backbone of many Nations economies.

And Mr. Katambo said President Lungu has warned that he will not entertain any hiccups in the distribution of imports in this farming season. He said the directive by the President is being followed that is why the beneficiaries of FISP have been asked to make their four hundred kwacha contribution by June this year.

Mr. Katambo said he is confident that the challenges faced with the use of the E Voucher will not be experienced during this year’s farming season. He said Government will not scrap off the payments of inputs through E Voucher system as it was an effective and efficient system.

Mr. Katambo said government has saved about 1 billion kwacha since introducing the Voucher as many Ghost workers and middle men had been cut out of the system. He also urged farmers to consider planting other crops during this farming season and not only rely on Maize.

Mr Katambo cited Soya beans as a crop of high value that was at the same time drought resistant.

He further advised that funds given to beneficiaries of FISP are not meant for buying seed and fertilizer but can also be used for buying chemicals and other necessities that farmers may require.

The Minister who was speaking when he made a stopover in Addis Ababa after attending an Agricultural Expo in Israel was met by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Her Excellency Ms. Susan Sikaneta.

The Ambassador noted that the Ministry was doing a lot in terms of implementing Government policies and urged more dissemination of information on these developments so that people could appreciate what Government was doing and be involved.