Zambian government pledges US$150m for development of farming blocks

Zambian Finance Minister Felix Mutati says government will allocate US$150 million to kick-start the development of Kalungwishi Farm Block in Northern Province. Mutati says the development of the 200 000 hectare area will serve as a model for the other 1 million hectares of arable land allocated for farming blocks.

“This is in line with increasing agriculture production. Developing infrastructure to support profitable and sustainable farming will be a priority. This includes providing reliable water supply and electricity,” says Mutati.

A lack of infrastructure and amenities has forced thousands of Zambian smallholder farmers to shun massive farming blocks of arable land given to them by government. Government has allocated 100 000 ha per province.

However, only a small percentage is in use, while the rest lies dormant because of a lack of water, electricity and other amenities.

Mutati says the development of Kalungwishi, a model that will be replicated in all provinces, will increase the use of the farming blocks. “Optimising the performance of the farming blocks will ensure that farming is not relegated to the rainy season,” he says.

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