Zambia’s farmers learn about new technologies in agriculture
The Union’s president, Jervis Zimba, believes that Zambia can leverage its vast natural resources to provide employment opportunities. With the expansion of agricultural-value chains, predominant unemployment amongst the youth and women will be a thing of the past, he hopes. ZNFU organised an event called “The 2023 AgriTech Expo” in Chisamba district, together with a civil-society group, DLG Agriculture.
“AgriTech Expo aspires to connect all farmers in different parts of Zambia to deepen economic integration and to boost trade and investment in the agricultural sector – not only in the country but also to serve the export markets in the region and beyond,” Zimba said. The ZNFU’s flagship event is certainly one of the largest agricultural trade fairs in sub-Saharan Africa which is a meeting point for practitioners in plant and livestock production.
“We believe that by promoting trade amongst African countries, we are strengthening the continent’s industrial base and ensuring that we produce goods for ourselves and each other,” the farmers Union leader stated.
The activity showcased live demos of the latest kit to crop plots profiling developments in agronomy, and had workshops and seminars, among other events. It proved to be an important event in Zambia’s agricultural calendar, offering networking and learning opportunities for agriculturalists.
Technologically advanced farming tools are crucial because farmers are increasingly looking at sustainable production systems that ensure a fair economic return on their enterprises while at the same time, looking after and enhancing the environment.
Among the state-of-the-art precision agriculture apparatus showcased at the just-ended event were smart agricultural spraying drones from various leading local and international firms. Sunagri Investment Zambia Limited – a local drone-technology firm incorporated in 2017 demonstrated how gadgets in the agriculture sector have evolved over the years in enhancing farmers’ productivity.
“Over the five years of our operations in Zambia, we have grown our drone capacity from accommodating four litres of pesticides covering one acre of land to the latest drones with 40 litres capacity with the capacity to spray five to six hectares,” the company director, Frazer Zhang said.
Other firms that showcased their equipment were Tata Zambia’s John Deere tractors which have been in Zambia for over 20 years and have worked with subsistence and commercial farmers and large corporations. In the seed agribusiness, Syngenta was present to showcase its crop solutions. “Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources. Through partnerships, collaboration and a good growth plan, we are committed to improving farm productivity, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalising rural communities,” Syngenta Zambia managing director and Southern African head, Given Mudenda, said.
Lackson Mweemba, a small-scale farmer who travelled from Choma in Southern province to attend the event said: “I am excited to see the latest agricultural gadgets on display here. This experience has reawakened my passion to go into agribusiness full time.”
Derrick Silimina is a freelance journalist based in Lusaka.