EXPERTS IDENTIFY LIME AS SOLUTION TO ENVIRONMENTALLY UNSUSTAINABLE CHITEMENE SYSTEM OF AGRICULTURE

Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia – WECSZ says chances that people will stop growing millet through slash and burn system of agriculture called Chitemene are close to none.

Organization’s Mafinga District Coordinator Gift Mwandila says this is because of millet’s value culturally and economically.

Mr. Mwandila says stakeholders must therefore, aim at improving production methods to improve yields and introduce less labour intensive methods of growing millet.

He said his organization has been growing millet with farmers in Nsenje Ward in Mafinga District without Chitemene.

“During one of the Field Day expeditions hosted by the Department of Agriculture at the premises of one Lead farmer in the District, it was interesting to learn that the farmer had been growing finger millet without the use of Chitemene,” he said.
 
Mr. Mwandila said millet farmers simply need lime to neutralize the soil because millet does not grow well in acidic soils.

He said the slash and burn process neutralises the acid in the soil.

“This is one of the methods that could be replicated in other parts of Zambia,” he said. 

Mr. Mwandila was speaking during a Traditional Leaders Dialogue convened by Centre for Environment Justice – CEJ which is implementing the Stop The Chop Campaign which was launched in 2022 with support from the Government of the United States of America and the Zambia United States Alumni Association (ZUEA).

Speaking at the same function, Mafinga Council Chairperson Duncan Kaonga saluted Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) for their relentless efforts in championing the Stop the Chop Campaign in partnership with the Department of State of the United States of America, and the Zambia United States Alumni Association.

“Your collaboration has enriched this Dialogue and strengthened our resolve to address the critical issues of deforestation and land degradation in our District. Throughout the course of this Dialogue, we have had the privilege of engaging in candid and constructive discussions, fueled by the wisdom and experiences of our respected Traditional Leaders. We have explored sustainable solutions, and innovative livelihood alternatives, and identified opportunities for collaboration,” he said. 

Mr. Kaonga said the insights shared and the solutions proposed during the Dialogue reinforced the belief that stakeholders possess the capacity to create a more sustainable and harmonious future for the Mafinga District. 

“The true potential of our district lies in the synergy between environmental conservation and community development, and it is within our grasp to achieve this balance. As we reflect on the discussions and recommendations put forth, I call upon each one of us to take the lessons learned and the momentum gained from this dialogue to drive real and lasting change in our communities,” he said. 

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