FAO Regional Office for Africa

The African Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) helps Zambia

Focus is on trans boundary pests and diseases

Cassava Mosaic disease (© FAO)

18 February 2015- Lusaka: 80 percent out of the total population of 13 000 000 people depend on agriculture related activities for its livelihoods. It is however noted that food safety issues, plant pests and animal diseases constrain the achievement of the full potential of the agriculture sector.

A project – funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund - aimed at strengthening controls of food security threats and better managing plant and animal pests and diseases in the Southern African has been launched, in the presence of the Permanent Secretary for the Zambia Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Julius J. Shawa.   

‘Zambia like other developing countries faced numerous challenges related to compliance with standards required by its trading partners due to limited technical, human and financial resources’, noted Mr. Shawa in his opening remarks at the project launch event.

He further acknowledge that the project could not have come at a better time when Zambia’s agro products were expected to be more competitive in order to gain market access in SADC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and other lucrative markets.

At country level the project will address issues of pest and disease - of animals and plants - control through effective prevention and control mechanisms in order to improve food and nutrition security and enhance regional and international trade of food and agro-products in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

In Zambia, the project comes as a result of two studies carried out in 2013 and 2014 that were supported by FAO, in partnership with the World Bank and the Government of Zambia, under the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) framework; it also reflects issues raised by the Zambian institutions involved Food Safety. 

“We have so many trans boundary pests and diseases which are causing a lot of problems. At the same time we do not have enough technical capacity for managing these problems, which are getting worse especially with issues of climate change, voiced FAO Representative in Zambia, Mr George Okech.

“This project is extremely important in ensuring that we are able to address these threats and maintain agriculture productivity and regional trade”, he concluded. 

Apart from Zambia, this project is also supporting 8 other SADC member countries namely Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, for a period of three years in controlling plant pests and animal diseases along with enhanced food safety. The project will also work in close collaboration with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to ensure coverage of the entire subregion.


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Precious N. Chitembwe

Communications and Reports Officer

Email: precious.chitembwe@fao.org

FAO- Zambia

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