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MOReDeP promotes mechanised rice production in Chitambo

By Chisanga Morgan

 


As demand for rice increases in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture has partnered with Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) through Market Oriented Rice Development Project (MOReDeP) to promote rice mechanization among small-scale farmers in Chitambo so as increase their productivity.


MOReDeP has in recent parts expressed worry by the poor quality of rice grains being produced by the small-scale farmers in Chitambo district due to poor methods of harvesting and the type of tools used. Speaking during a demonstration of rice mechanization equipment held in collaboration with Honda Zambia, MOReDeP rice researcher Shu Komatsubara observed that the major challenge faced was poor quality of rice grains being produced by the small-scale farmers due to poor methods of harvesting by rice farmers in the district. He further said rice farmers in the district lacked mechanization equipment to expedite the land preparation, planting and harvesting. Mr Shu however expressed happiness that the equipment demonstration that was recently held was a step in the right direction in that rice growers in the district have been exposed to good rice practices which involves harvesting of the grain at the right time, using the correct tools and producing of quality rice and profit maximization.

In order to increase production and the quality of rice and reduce high post-harvest losses among small-scale farmers in the district, the Ministry of Agriculture is working hand in hand with the JICA through the MOReDeP.” 

Mr Shu explained.



Honda Zambia General Manager Mr. Nicholas Comana has advised farmers in the district to always use the right tools in rice production for better results. Mr Comana said not only do modern and mechanized rice harvesting technologies reduce post- harvest losses but also reduces human drudgery. Honda Zambia general manager demonstrated with his team different types of machines that included rice hand held harvester, motorized sprayers and many others. Meanwhile, a farmer representative Chesha Kunda has thanked MOReDeP and Honda Zambia for the collaboration saying the gesture will enhance rice production in the district. Mr Chesha however on called Honda Zambia to allow some organized farmers get the equipment especially the mini combine harvester on lease basis.


MOReDeP works to help the small-scale rice farmers save grain losses and yield losses, save harvesting costs, save labor involvement during harvesting and enable the farmers to prepare their fields on time in readiness for the next farming season.