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Zambian crop institute develops seed varieties suited to climate change

The Zambia Agricultural and Research Institute (ZARI) has developed seed varieties adaptable to the country’s agro-ecological zones. Defined as biological and natural resources systems managed by humans for the primary purpose of producing food and other activities, Zambia has three agro-ecological systems.

ZARI coordinator Dr Moses Mwale said the seed varieties include maize, sorghum, beans, cowpeas and sweet potatoes. “In the wake of climatic challenges, these seed varieties are adaptable for the agro-ecological zones in Zambia. This will help increase production despite the changing weather patterns and soil types,” Mwale said.

Zambia’s agro-ecological regions are southern and eastern river valleys with low rainfall; central plateaus and western plateaus with rainfall of about 1 000mm and north and north-western plateaus with rainfall of about 1 500mm. Much of the arable land is concentrated in the region where rainfall is close to 1000mm with finger millet, maize, cassava, groundnuts and beans the dominant crop.

Mwale said the seed varieties were developed to address the peculiar crop improvement and management problems of the agro-ecological regions. “The development will ensure that we do not only have food security, but also highly nutritious food to address challenges such as child malnutrition,” he said.

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