By Dorcas Kabuya

Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) has urged stakeholder to heed to President Hakainde Hichilema call to advance technologies and innovation which will transform the agricultural sector.

ZARI Director, Dr. Dickson Nguni, noted that the Institute is working with Symborg in conducting efficacy trials for Resid, a biological inoculant developed for treatment of seed to enhance root growth thereby improving water and nutrient update for better yields.

“It is pleasing that small scale farmers have been involved at every stage of the field trials. This collaborative approach builds capacity and ensures that the practices are tailored to the needs of the farmers and increase adoption rates,” he mentioned.

Dr. Nguni hinted that the collaboration with Symborg demonstrated the impact of public and private sector partnership in agricultural research and the promotion of climate smart agriculture in view of the negative effects of the El-Nino weather conditions experienced in this farming season.

“Climate change is threatening Zambia’s food systems and sustainable livelihoods. It is imperative that stakeholders continue to promote technologies and innovations which will help the sector transform production systems,” he stated.

He said this during the field day and Knowledge sharing platform in Chongwe’s Sheleni Agricultural Camp which served as platform to showcase the potential of Resid in boosting maize yields, especially in the face of adverse environmental conditions.

And Chongwe District Agricultural Coordinator, Jane Muchabi, expressed joy that her district was selected to showcase the efficacy of the product proposing that the number of participating farmers be increased from five.

Ms. Muchabi emphasised that based on trial observations, Resid holds promise as a solution to the numerous challenges encountered by the Ministry in enhancing production and productivity among small-scale farmer.

“As a District, we are appealing to Symborg to expand the implementation of the innovation to reach more farmers in the district, it is a well-known fact that farmers often learn best through practical demonstrations, “she indicated.

Spencer Mache, the host farmer, remarked that the product was well-received within the farming community, expressing encouragement at the sight of substantial cobs despite the dry spells encountered this farming season.

Symborg Business Development Manager for Central and Southern Africa, Jose Luis Garcia, disclosed that working with United Capital Fertiliser, the company distributed Resid bio-fertiliser to Central, Lusaka, Copperbelt and North-Western provinces for demonstrations.

“Farmers have shown their approval and recognised the advantages of Resid, we anticipate government support to boost our efforts in improving food security,” he mentioned.

The collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with farmers’ dedication reflects a promising path in navigating the impacts of climate change and promoting sustainable agriculture. – NAIS