Your Royal Highnesses,
Senior Chief Sailunga
The Permanent Secretary, North Western Province
Senior government officials
Private sector representatives
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me start my remarks this morning by thanking the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture for promoting conservation agriculture among the small-scale farmers and also for the partnership the government has with Conservation Farming Unit (CFU). My presence here today also signifies greater partnership UNDP has with the government and CFU, that has been demonstrated among other things, government contracting CFU through UNDP/GEF support for promoting conservation farming under the Strengthening Ecosystem Management in the Greater Kafue and West Lunga National Park abbreviated GEF V Project.
My remarks this morning will be few and centred on three things.
Firstly, the importance of conservation farming in sustainable development of the country which experts here are conversant with. Conservation farming has triple benefits namely; water conservation for crops, preservation of soil nutrients for increased crop production and maintenance of single field by farmers for longer periods and reducing forest clearance for agriculture. The former is very important for climate change mitigation.
This brings me to the second point of conservation farming in the face of climate change. One of the principles of conservation agriculture is water conservation, in terms of water retention even in times of partial droughts as experienced in south/west parts of the country in this farming season. If all the small-scale farmers can adopt conservation farming as we are witnessing today, there will be minimal crop failure and the country will be assured of food security. Climate change will be a common phenomenon now and, in the future, and thus preparing the small-scale farmers to adopt techniques such as conservation farming will reduce the risks in the agriculture sector and enhance its resilience. For the small holder agriculture to be resilient and transformative, small scale farmers capacities have to be enhanced with adoptive, participatory and adaptive tools which I believe CFU has been providing through among other things field days which we are witnessing today.
Let me come to the last point which is partnerships. To bring transformation in the small holder agriculture requires active involvement of all stakeholders including government, private sector, cooperating partners and traditional leadership. The government is responsible for creating an enabling environment for the sector and also for promoting conservation farming. The private sector and Trusts like CFU bring on board technologies and investments while the cooperating Partners like UNDP bring in technical assistance and Traditional leadership mobilizes communities. The partnership created in promoting conservation farming is a chain which should not be broken to ensure that no small-scale farmer is left behind in terms of adopting conservation farming and contributing to sustainable development. As UNDP we are committed to the partnership with government, CFU and the Traditional leadership.
In conclusion, I would like to urge all the stakeholders present here to harness the achievements made in promoting conservation farming to reach every farmer.
I thank you All.