Small scale farmers have called on government to come up with deliberate laws that will support farmer led seed systems (FLSS).
Speaking during the farmer exchange visit in Shibuyunji, Lavaty Malanji a small-scale farmer from Chongwe district appealed to the government to engage small scale farmers in consultations whenever they are making decisions pertaining to their plight as stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
“When I look at the ZNFU, there is no any small-scale farmer who is a member. Whom did you consult as a ministry, the farmers in Mkushi, the commercial farmers only, the commercial farmers in Chisamba, what about the peasant farmer? “Mr. Malanji Lamented.
And Theresa Mutaka who is a small-scale farmer on the Copperbelt said it is important to preserve local seeds citing that they are strong and resistant to climate change, nutritious and can be used for medicinal purposes.
“Local Seeds need to be regenerated for the future generations to use; these hybrids are phasing every year, there is always a new variety every year; the same seeds my ancestors used are the same ones I am still using because there is no modification “Mrs. Mutaka added.
She further called on the government to revisit the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) by having a variety of inputs to give farmers instead of seeds and fertilizer only.
“We appreciate the government on the FISP program but please consider also giving us other inputs like goats which will be able to produce manure for our fields, you can give us seed and fertilizer this year and the following year you give us goats, “she added. Meanwhile, Deputy director in the ministry of agriculture Mr.
Charles Sondashi said small scale farmers are the backbone of the food system in Zambia citing that the continued practice of preserving seeds will ensure food security.
Mr. Sondashi added that the ministry of agriculture appreciates the value of diverse traditional seeds and food that remains the school for the country's heritage and wealth of the nation.
He further called on small -scale to safeguard and celebrate the traditional Zambian food and diversity and congratulated the farmers for their dedicated activities towards the preserving of local seeds