Government identifies rice as a key crop

By  Kasambala Machona

The Ministry of Agriculture says it is targeting to make Zambia self-sufficient in rice production through the development of rice market-oriented initiatives.Agriculture Permanent Secretary GREEN MBOZI says by developing market-oriented initiates, the production and productivity of rice in the country can increase to levels of sufficiency with a potential to start exporting.

Mr. MBOZI says government has identified rice as a key crop because the country has one of the best environments across the country to grow the rice.

He says besides providing food security, rice is also a cash crop that can create other economic opportunities through value addition which will translate into job opportunities.

Mr. MBOZI was speaking at Raddison Blu hotel during the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Agriculture third joint review meeting of the Market Oriented Rice Development Project (MOReDeP).

The Market Oriented Rice Development Project is a JICA supported project which is being implemented countrywide by the Ministry of Agriculture from 2019 to 2025.

And JICA Senior Representative IZUMI KEITA has commended the Government of Zambia for prioritizing rice production in the country.

Mr. KEITA says JICA will implement a grant support programme to Zambia to address the challenges affecting the rice value chains.

The JICA representative disclosed that under the grant, the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) and the University of Zambia (UNZA) will be supported with research activities.