Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the Republic of Zambia, recently held a meeting with the Grain Producers and Traders of Zambia, comprising the Zambia National Farmers’ Union, Grain Farmers, Grain Traders, and Water Harvester Associations. The meeting was aimed at discussing issues related to food sufficiency, availability, and affordability, which the President emphasized are matters of national security.
During the meeting, President Hichilema urged his colleagues to view the problem of grain or mealie meal shortages as an opportunity to work together towards finding a lasting solution, rather than blaming each other. This collaborative approach is essential in addressing the challenges facing Zambia’s food security, as it requires a joint effort from all stakeholders.
Zambia’s favorable geographical position as a landlinked country surrounded by 8 neighbors and its hydrological conditions make it well-suited to becoming a breadbasket for the region and the continent. President Hichilema, therefore, encouraged farmers to explore the option of growing early maize to increase crop production. This is a strategic move, as early-maturing maize varieties have a shorter growing cycle, which means that farmers can plant and harvest the crops earlier, reducing the risk of crop failure due to adverse weather conditions.
The President also emphasized the importance of water harvesting as a means of enhancing year-round crop production, particularly for crops such as wheat and maize. Water harvesting is a process that involves collecting and storing rainwater runoff from roofs, roads, and other surfaces for future use. This water can then be used for irrigation during the dry season, thus ensuring that farmers have a constant supply of water for their crops.
In conclusion, President Hichilema’s meeting with the Grain Producers and Traders of Zambia was a fruitful one, as it highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing the challenges facing Zambia’s food security. The President’s emphasis on early maize planting and water harvesting is a strategic move towards ensuring that Zambia becomes a breadbasket for the region and the continent. It is now up to all stakeholders to work together towards achieving this goal.