MINISTER of Agriculture Reuben Mtolo has called upon all government ministries and agricultural stakeholders to ensure promotion of climate smart agriculture innovations aimed at attaining food and nutrition security in the country.

Mr Mtolo made the call during the launch of the Ukama Ustawi (UU) Initiative on diversification for Resilience Agrifood systems in East and Southern Africa hosted by the Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in partnership with the CGIAR System Organization in Lusaka today.

He said that Ukama Ustawi Initiative which means “well being” is aimed at supporting Climate Resilience Agriculture livelihoods in twelve countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa by helping millions of smallholders intensify, diversify and de – risk maize mixed farming.

Mr Mtolo further said that the UU initiative of the CGIAR System Organization is aimed at supporting climate Resilience Agriculture livelihoods and Agribusiness Ecosystems which will help vulnerable small holder farmers to transition from Maize-mixed systems to sustainable intensified and diversified Agi-food system with a strong maize base.

He further explained that the UU Initiative is a CGIAR regional integrated initiative being led by the international water management institute (IWMI) in collaboration with regional and national partners, including ACF and FANRPAN.

He emphasized that the ministry of agriculture and its stakeholders have developed a framework to guide the coordination and implementation of conservation agriculture in Zambia in order to achieve significant growth of the agricultural sector and improve food and nutrition security.

And speaking at the same function, Agriculture (ACF) Forum, Chairperson James Kasongo said that the ACF is an innovative public sector platform, that provides an opportunity for dialogue and consultation on government agricultural policies in Zambia and the region.

He said that the policy dialogue will save as a validation platform for policy undertaken by Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) to understand the status of Zambia’s agriculture and food policies.

Mr Kasongo explained that the purpose of the National policy dialogue is to present the East and Southern African Policy hub to stakeholders in Zambia, to disseminate and validate findings of stakeholders and policy mapping exercise on the status of Zambian’s   agriculture and food system policies, and to discuss pressing issues that relate to Agrifood systems, diversification and resilience-building in Zambia.

He also emphasized the need for key stakeholders from government, research community, civil society organizations, private sector, farmer organizations, youth and women organizations and the media to prioritize opportunities aimed at working together on sustainable intensification and diversification policies in Zambia.-ENDS