PELUM Zambia country coordinator Muketoi Wamunyima has called on stakeholders in the agriculture sector to coordinate in influencing policy that affects the sector.
Speaking during a one-day Policy engagement meeting held in Lusaka recently, Mr Wamunyima said agroecology and organic agriculture are systems of agriculture that supported ecological land use and therefore needed to be adopted and practiced among farmers.
He however bemoaned the exclusion of the two systems of agriculture from the current Agriculture policy and the 7th National Development plan.
He said the mobilization of the various stakeholders was an effort to devise a coordinated strategy on how to influence the current policy to include agroecology and organic agriculture.
He appealed to the participants to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of the strategies for effective results.
And speaking at the same function, University of Zambia Lecturer in the School of Agriculture Professor Orbed Lungu said stakeholders needed to identify windows of opportunity for influence of the agriculture policy such as the fact that there is no mention of agroecology and organic agriculture in the current policy and thus no equal share of the national cake as most of the agriculture budget is allocated to conventional farming.
He said organic agriculture had the potential to feed the nation if government supported research in orphaned seed production.
“Government is worried about food security, safety, nutrition and sustainability, that’s why it needs to support and invest in research in the production of orphaned seeds such as millet and sorghum to be used in organic farming as this will ensure consistency in production” he said.
Meanwhile, University of Zambia school of Agriculture Dean of students Dr. Benson Chishala said, the University was revising its curriculum, a process that would need the input and all relevant stakeholders.
Dr. Chishala said invitations would be sent to organisations to contribute to the curriculum revision process which would give way to inclusion of topics such as agroecology and organic agriculture.
And speaking earlier, Robert Chimambo, a Chongwe based farmer called on the institutions of higher learning to be proactive in addressing issues that affected communities.
“Universities need to come down to communities and lead in issues of research and give informed guidance to communities on the different crops they can grow in the various areas”, said.