Agriculture contributes to climate change through clearing of new land for production hence the need for agricultural technologies which can increase yields without necessarily expanding land under production.
It is, therefore, important for farmers to adopt different technologies that build climate change resilience and cushion the shocks of the changing environment for them to be food secure at household and district level.
Mambwe’s Ncheka ward councilor Jonas Chulu said the interventions being implemented through demonstrations have come at a right time when issues of environmental degradation which contribute to climate change have reached alarming levels.
Mr. Chulu was speaking during the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sponsored Climate Smart/Resilient Project Field Day in Mambwe.
“I am happy to note that the technologies being promoted through Farmer Field School approach have enabled farmers to learn by doing and observe performance at the same time,” he said.
Mr. Chulu noted that despite the dry spell experienced in the district during the 2017/2018 farming season, most of the demos did well and that their good performance was not by chance but good agronomic practices that were followed.
The councilor also paid tribute to the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) for their contribution to the good performance of the demos by providing different technologies and information to the Farmer Field School as they would help farmers to achieve food security and contribute to poverty reduction through increased income.
He urged the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO not to relax in bringing farmers and stakeholders together because the adoption rate of good farming technologies by farmers was still low.
“We have witnessed some good performance of various demonstrations in this Farmer Field School in a season that had a severe dry spell. It is my belief that some of the technologies exhibited here will be adopted by our farmers during the 2018/2019 farming season,” he said.
In a vote of thanks, Headman Mulima said if the lessons learnt during the field day had come earlier, Ncheka Camp could have been food secure despite the dry spells experienced in the district.
He said there was hunger in many villages as crops did not do well because of the prolonged dry spell in Mambwe.
“Our plea is for such lessons to continue. The farmer field school approach is a good way of teaching us. We have seen, and we want this to continue. Ncheka area is vast. We want this programme to be expanded so that our friends can also learn from farmer field schools,” Headman Mulima said.
The farmer field schools demonstrated conservation farming methods such as potholing and ripping and the production of local maize, drought tolerant and early maturing maize varieties and ground nuts. Ends/mz/Mambwe/NAIS