SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE VITAL FOR FOOD SECURITY – ZAMBEEF
Zambeef urges farmers to incorporate good agricultural practices in farming activities
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Sustainable agricultural practices are a must if food security in Zambia and the region is to be maintained in light of the climatic changes, says the country’s largest agribusiness, Zambeef Products.
The need for the agriculture sector to adapt to the changing environment was highlighted during a tour of the company’s Huntley Farm in Chisamba yesterday (September 23) as part of a seminar programme on Food Security in a Climate Perspective headed by the Norwegian Development Corporation.
“Food plays an important role in the life of a nation. And there are many challenges affecting food security in the world and climate change tops the list. Zambia does have abundant resources in the form of water, arable land and manpower but there is a need to maintain and protect those resources by making sure they are used wisely,” Zambeef Head of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Felix Lupindula.
“Food security calls for improved and increased productivity in the agriculture sector which will in turn serve to provide employment for farmers, as well as in other industries that arise as a result of farming activity or processing of farm produce. Aside from enabling environments and policies, farmers also have the responsibility to implement and adopt good and sustainable agriculture practices adapted to changing climate and environmental factors,” added Mr Lupindula.
“It is fascinating to see a professionally managed agro-company like this. We are unreservedly pleased to see grain production, dairy production, and other key sections of the business that have sustainability as their bedrock. I can say from a professional standpoint, as a veterinarian by profession, I am pleased by what I have seen here,” said Hans Peter Melby, Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Norwegian Embassy and leader of the delegation.
Zambeef’s contribution to food security in Zambia is evidenced by the massive operations that span the length and breadth of the country. Its 122 retail outlets and 3 wholesale depots serve millions of Zambian customers. It has a large row cropping operation (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), with approximately 8,350 hectares of row crops under irrigation and 17,000 hectares of rain-fed/dry-land crops available for planting each year. It slaughters more than 80,000 beef cattle and 6 million chickens, and processes 8 million litres of milk per year.
“I have learned a great deal about conservation and sustainable agriculture and the seriousness with which Zambeef takes it. It has been very exciting and impressive. This is certainly something for the future that will benefit Zambia, its economy and its people. I wish Zambeef nothing but success,” said Norway’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bård Hopland, who was part of the delegation.
Zambeef’s recent projects will see its contribution towards food security increase. The Zampalm plantation and crude palm oil processing plant in Mpika seeks to make Zambia self-sufficient in crude palm oil production saving the country approximately US$70 million (K700 million) in foreign exchange outflows. Zamhatch in Mpongwe will also see an increase in the availability of day old chicks on the market as well as boost production in the poultry sector.
As Zambia’s largest integrated agribusiness, Zambeef’s incorporates sustainable agriculture practices as a first priority in increasing production such as heightened biosecurity, crop rotation, irrigation, use of internally composted organic fertiliser with its windrow cropping system to ensure that it maximises production without causing damage to the environment.
“Efficient and effective use of natural resources is vital if production is to continue long into the future. Zambeef has a zero waste policy which tries to keep waste to a minimum and build on value addition and recycling models as well for example, the remains from our crop harvesting of wheat and corn is processed to feed the cattle or recycled into organic fertiliser for the fields,” said Mr Lupindula.
The group was represented concerned embassy missions and stakeholders from across Southern and Eastern Africa and participated in discussions of the experiences related to the implementation of the Strategy for Food Security in a Climate Perspective (2013-2015) launched in 2012 by Norway on interventions within climate resilient agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture.