About 60,000 smallholder farmers are earmarked to benefit from the sustainable intensification agricultural practices in the country.

The diverse agricultural practices being implemented through the Sustainable Intensification of Smallholder Farming Systems in Zambia (SIFAZ) will assist smallholder farmers realize profits in their farming venture.

Speaking during the Annual Research Planning meeting in Lusaka, SIFAZ National Project Coordinator Geoffrey Siulemba said the climate smart intensification practices which are being piloted in five provinces of Zambia will soon be rolled out across the country.

Mr Siulemba revealed that over 17, 000 smallholder farmers have so far benefitted from the project’s interventions.

He said the European Union funded project has enhanced research on crop diversification, smart agriculture and weeding for farmers to increase production within the already existing farms.

“In Zambia, many smallholder farmers are unable to realize profit in their farming venture due to lack of knowledge on proper agronomical practices.  It is for this reason that SIFAZ has come on board with diverse technologies aimed at ensuring profitability among smallholders,” Mr. Siulemba explained.

And International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre –CIMMYT- Principal Research Scientist Christian Thierfelder revealed that the Centre is partnering with SARO Agro Industrial Limited to develop and enhance the production of appropriate farm machinery for smallholder farmers.

Mr.  Thierfelder indicated that the development and promotion of diverse farm machinery for smallholder farmers will help to achieve the country’s mechanization agenda and boost productivity.

Meanwhile, Southern Province Agricultural Coordinator Max Choombe emphasized the need for farmers to adopt appropriate Agricultural technologies.

Dr Choombe explained that development and promotion of sustainable Agricultural intensification practices is a sure way to increasing productivity among smallholder farmers.

He appealed to farmers to consider embracing the technologies being implemented by SIFAZ which includes conservation farming systems, mix crop production and crop residue retention that have potential to increase soil fertility and conserve the environment.

The seven and half years SIFAZ project is funded by the European Union and is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations-FAO, Ministry of Agriculture as well as CIMMYT.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN)has called for strengthened disaster and climate risks management mechanisms at National and Subnational level.

UN World Food Programme Country Director Cissy Byenkya, said the disasters in Zambia negatively affected over 293, 000 people resulting in 9.3 million United States loss in the period between 1999 and 2017.

Ms Byenkya noted that climate change effects such as floods and droughts are likely to continue posing food insecurity among households globally if left unchecked.

She said this in Lusaka, during the official opening of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative –CADRI- mission in Zambia.

And Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit –DMMU- National Coordinator Dr Gabriel Pollen expressed optimism that the interventions by CADRI will strengthen Zambia’s capacity in addressing climate related challenges.

Food and Agriculture Organization- FAO- Regional Emergency Agronomist Sina Luchen emphasized the need for countries to up their game in developing strategies that will help in disaster risk reduction to secure food security and lives.-NAIS