Facing the dreaded armyworm, China-based agriculture technology company and industrial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer XAG recently launched fully autonomous drones to help growers combat the infestations in Zambia. XAG is among drone manufacturers that is tackling the fight against armyworms in some of the most affected countries including Zambia, South Africa, Vietnam and China.
As the global population soars to reach nine billion people, emerging challenges of feeding this population are becoming more real than ever in the world. Many countries in the world, Zambia included, now are under great stress to feed its people. Stories of people eating mangoes as the main meal in Lundazi are still fresh on our minds or bustle in Southern Province and many other areas.
‘Cassava brown streak virus’ is a plant disease that is characterized by patches of yellow mixed with the normal green color on the leaves of cassava plants. This Monday, Zambian Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo said official records have confirmed the existence of the virus in seven districts in Luapula and North-Western Provinces.
About 36 per cent of more than 192,500 hectares of maize in Central Province have been damaged beyond redemption due to the prolonged dry spell,” according to a preliminary report. Like many parts in the southern half of the country, Central Province has witnessed nearly one month without significant rain in much of the region’s 11 districts.
ZSIC-General Insurance has insured about 30, 000 farmers affiliated to Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) countrywide since last year against fire and other natural disasters that are a threat to crops. Company director for branch operations Mizinga Masinja said the firm has partnered with ZNFU, which avails farmers’ details for them to be insured.
The Land Bank Insurance Company (LBIC), a division of the Land Bank, which provides financial services to the commercial farming and agribusiness sector, has unveiled the first batch of fully accredited black crop insurance brokers in the country. A programme with the intention of training ten black brokers to sell LBIC’s products was launched earlier this year. However, when the programme got under way, to meet demand, LBIC accommodated 17 brokers. These brokers were identified from the Financial Services Board’s database and were invited to apply.
Zambia's Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Given Lucinda, said that the country has depended on the mining sector for decades and now needs to diversify its economy; agriculture has been earmarked as a key sector for doing this. “Agriculture is the future of Zambia,” said Lucinda. “We have depended on the extractive industries over the last 50 years. I usually ask the question, ‘will copper see us through another 50 years? My categorical answer is No.’”
More than 60,000 farming households are insured against drought and other adverse weather conditions in Zambia in the 2015/2016 farming season. This implies that approximately 380,000 people in rural households have access to drought insurance, while more than 300,000 people also have access to funeral insurance through coverage of the 60,000 farming households in the current season. The products were developed with the support of Risk Shield Consultants Limited.
MAYFAIR Insurance Company Limited has introduced a weather index insurance cover for farmers who have received inputs from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) by e-voucher against the risk of loss due to crop damage by extreme weather events. Mayfair Insurance Company agriculture expert said since the planting period is coming to an end, his company will cover the farmers on e-voucher programme in Choma.
Zambia's electronic voucher system, under farmers Input Support Programme has failed, and the government is distributing farming inputs as done before. President launched the mobile and tracking system in October to provide subsidised seeds and fertilizer through private suppliers, with the aim of eliminating corruption and promoting efficiency. The e-voucher system uses mobile technology for the activation and redemption of vouchers, and empowers farmers to select the inputs they need.
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