09 JUNE 2024

The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) has started conducting trials on some drought resistant varieties of cassava and sweet potatoes with a view to recommending them to the southern part of the country which has been hit hard by the drought.

NISIR Head of Plant Science Research Center Dr. Alinesi Chakwiya says the center is conducting trials on varieties which use little water but can thrive and feed people.

Dr. Chakwiya says the drier parts of the country like Southern Province will be recommended for crops like sorghum, sweet potatoes and cassava which can withstand long dry spells.

Speaking when Technology and Science Minister Hon. Felix Mutati visited the NISIR Plant Science Research Center in Kitwe, Dr. Chakwiya said trials on cassava will take a minimum of three years while sweet potato trials will take a year and half.

Dr. Chakwiya says in a year or two, the center will be able to recommend the plants that government can recommend to the southern region so that people can plant them in drought conditions.

And Technology and Science Minister Felix has urged the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research to come up with crops that can be grown in each Province and can withstand drought conditions.

Mr. Mutati says having a regional recommendation will help government promote food security at household level.

He says some cooperating partners are willing to help Zambia promote crops that can withstand effects of climate change once they have been studied and recommended.

Mr. Mutati said once this recommendation is done, even the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit can come on board and help to promote the crops to avert future crisis.


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