PELUM Zambia has bemoaned the lack of political will in providing polices that focus on traditional environmentally friendly farming practices in the country.
Speaking during a Multiparty dialogue meeting meant for farmers to submit their manifesto to political leaders and co-organised by PELUM, FIAN International and Caritas Zambia at Lusaka’s Sarovar Premiere Hotel recently, PELUM Zambia Programs Officer Wilfred Miga said the focus of agriculture policies on industrial agriculture had a negative impact on small scale farmers who faced numerous challenges including high cost of inputs.
He said the farmer’s dependency on Agro-chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides had increased over the years and had affected food production systems and the environment.
“The food systems and the environment have been affected by the continued used of chemicals,” he said.
He appealed to Government, farmers, and other relevant stakeholders to make concerted efforts to improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers by fostering ecological land use management.
Speaking at the same function, Patriotic Front (PF) representative Yamfwa Mukanga said the ruling party was in the process of concluding its manifesto and would consider the submissions that the farmers had regarding sustainable agriculture practices.
And United Party for National Development (UPND) representative Patrick Mucheleka said his party had prioritised agriculture and the need to uplift the lives of small holder farmers.
He appealed to Civil Society Organisations to engage his party and share ideas for the development of the nation.
Meanwhile, Dorcas Shoonga, an organic farmer from Rufunsa district has called on women in the country and the rest of the world to adopt organic farming practices for good health, increased crop yields and incomes.
Mrs. Shoonga said women needed to engage in organic agriculture for protection of human, soil, and environmental health.
“Women have a responsibility to care for the family and organic farming will help us achieve that because the family will eat food free from chemicals. The soil will produce more because it will be healthy and there will be more money for the family,” she said.
She urged pollical party leaders to include organic agriculture in their manifestos as a tool to attaining increased agriculture production for economic development.