Strengthening agriculture, securing food supplies - Federal Minister Schmidt in Zambia
Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt travelled from 15 - 17 April 2015 to Zambia and held a number of talks, including with Given Lubinda, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, and Evelyn Nguleka, President of the World Farmers' Organisation.
"To make food supplies sustainable, Africa requires modern, site-adapted agricultural and food sectors. To win the fight against hunger, local production urgently needs to be increased. This growth must, however, be sustainable. We would like to transfer technology and knowledge to support this country in making their food production sustainable. We hope that our engagement in Zambia will be noticed and felt in the entire neighbouring region," said Schmidt.
Schmidt joined Zambian Agriculture Minister Lubinda in opening the German-Zambian Agricultural Knowledge and Training Centre - AKTC) on 17 April 2015 in the presence of high-level representatives of the agricultural enterprises involved, the Zambian farmers' association and the national agricultural research institution GART. The centre is located in Chisamba, around 70 kilometres from the capital Lusaka. Federal Minister Schmidt also participated in the opening of the agricultural trade fair "Agritech Expo" in Chisamba where he met the Zambian Vice-President Inonge Wina.
The demonstration and training farm will provide Zambian farmers with hands-on training with modern, site-adapted farm machinery and sustainable crop-growing methods. The aim is to help boost sustainable productivity, to improve the income and employment situation and to enhance acceptance of modern farm equipment and techniques in Zambia.
In addition to promoting good training in economic cooperation projects, BMEL's bilateral cooperation scheme also aims to foster cooperation between associations.
The BMEL is therefore once again supporting a conference between the German Farmers' Association (DBV) and the African farmers' associations under its Bilateral Cooperation Programme with the aim of strengthening farmer stakeholder bodies and cooperatives as an important pillar for the development of the agricultural sector in Africa.
One subject of this year's seminar, at which Federal Minister Schmidt is also speaking, is the promotion of inter-farm cooperation e.g. in cooperatives and machinery pools. Networks such as these can make modern technology accessible to a greater number of farmers.
Under its Bilateral Cooperation Programme, the BMEL is involved in around 25 projects spread across 13 countries throughout the world. Zambia is now the third country in Africa (after Ethiopia and Morocco) in which the BMEL has launched a centre of agricultural training as an economic cooperation project. By means of this commitment, the BMEL is making a vital contribution towards implementing the Federal Government's "Policy Guidelines for Africa", which the BMEL also played a major part in formulating.
Zambia is one of the better developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa and has an average rate of economic growth of seven percent. However, large parts of the population remain food insecure. Over 70 percent of the labour force work in the agricultural sector, mainly in the form of subsistence farming. Zambia has great potential in this regard. The main barriers to exploiting this potential are shortcomings in infrastructure, training, mechanisation and irrigation.
- As of: