LUSAKA, Zambia

Commemorating Farmers’ Day in Zambia on Monday, farmers urged the government to formulate stable policies and cut imports to support the local agriculture sector.

In a statement, the Zambia National Farmers Union said farmers are critical to the wellbeing of the country because “without a farmer, there could be no food.”

Agriculture in Zambia contributes around 16% to the country’s GDP and employs about three-quarters of the Southern African nation’s 18 million people.

President Edgar Lungu assured farmers of a stable environment and support to ensure continued and enhanced productivity.

In a message on the day to celebrate the contribution and work of the agricultural sector, Lungu said his government appreciated the farmers’ tireless efforts in ensuring the country’s food security.

“You have gifted our country with two bumper harvests of maize in a row, with the latest harvest being the highest on record for our country. This is remarkable, thank you for your dedication and hard work,” Lungu said in a post on his official Facebook account.

He pledged that his government will continue providing an enabling environment for agricultural production, including a ready market for crops.

“We understand that farming is not only about maize growing, and so our vision is to have a diversified agriculture sector, and we are already following on this path by investing in sectors such as fish farming, livestock rearing and cashew production. The results so far have been remarkable,” he added.

Brenda Chitindi, the executive director of the Tobacco Free Association of Zambia, said her association is working with the government and other stakeholders to help tobacco growing farmers transition to nutritional value crops.

In a statement, she said a pilot project has been introduced in the county’s eastern, western and central regions, which are high in tobacco growing.

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