By Patrick Soko
THE Monkey Orange Crafts has advised Farmers to start cultivating Yam to avoid over-dependence on maize further stating that yam is a climate-resilient crop.
Zambia started losing some indigenous crops like millet, cassava, sorghum, and yam when maize was introduced in the country. Yam is a traditional tuber crop and an essential food crop in most African countries.
Yam is high in vitamin c and b6 potassium and manganese, with low in saturated fats and sodium and provides a good balance in the human body and protects against heart diseases and diabetes.
The Monkey Orange Crafts Organization Founder Micheal Mwandila has noted that growing organic yam can contribute to an increase in food security and incomes among the small-scale farmers as well as the creation of employment.
“From one single plant of yam, a farmer can harvest about 25 kilograms that is the reason Monkey Orange Crafts Yam Project has invested in training farmers with interest in the growing of the crop,” he says.
Mr Mwandila whose organization exhibited at the just 2019 agricultural and Commercial show which took place from the 31st July to 5th August, 2019 under the theme “Embracing Industrial Development” told 5fm news that It is high time Zambian smallholder farmers reduced dependence on maize and reintroduce growing indigenous crops such as Yam to help reduce poverty levels in the country and create employment.
“Farmers need to embrace yam cultivation as it can be turned into to various value-added products such as bread, mealie Meal, and corn flakes, Yam also gives more sustainable energy and it promotes longevity in life as it also acts as an anti-ageing agent, from one single plant of yam, a farmer can harvest about 25-kilograms, thus the reason monkey orange crafts yam project has invested in training farmers with an interest in growing the crop, says Mr. Mwandila.
MAIZE has continued to be Zambia’s staple crop for many years. The crop has been a major source of food for many households from time immemorial.
But this dependence on maize as a staple crop for the country has come with a lot of challenges in the recent past.
Issues of climate change and the ever-increasing price of farming inputs have made cultivating maize a big financial burden for most farmers in the Country.
In the meantime, some farmers who exhibited at the 93rd Agricultural Commercial Show expressed concern that most of their crop production was not being bought.
The farmers talked to by 5fm News have attributed the slow business to the low number of show-goers.
They noted that this year’s show has so far been characterized by fewer people as compared to the previous agricultural and commercial shows.
Government, under the leadership of President Lungu, embarked on the industrialization agenda in a bid to transition the country from a developing to a developed economy.
With poverty averaging 54 percent, particularly rural poverty at 77 percent, Government is exploiting various investment opportunities in priority sectors such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture, tourism, education, energy, and health.
The government’s Industrialization and Job creation agenda and key strategic goals are to raise productivity and strengthen trade competitiveness, to expand non-traditional exports and reduce vulnerability to Copper.
Meanwhile, some farmers have called on government through the ministry of agriculture to assist them with processing machines that will enable them to add value to crops such as sunflower to make edible oil.