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Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has applauded the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) on its country-wide training programme in bioenergy production and cotton value chain development for all cotton grower members which will help address issues of climate change in the country.

Speaking during a presentation on empowering Smallholder Farmers along the cotton value chain made by the Association at the Ministry of Finance yesterday, Dr Ng’andu said the skills development programmes will create job opportunities for the youth through the cotton value chain.

Dr Ng’andu said the manufacturing of briquettes and bio-energy production by CAZ will help in the fight against climate change.

We need to stop environmental degradation by reducing deforestation so that climatic conditions are stabilized and as government we want your programme.

Dr Ng’andu said.

Meanwhile, CAZ President Joseph Nkole said the training programme is part of the organisation’s commitment to fighting climate change through sustainable industrialization.

Mr Nkole said the association is partnering with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to develop skills in bio-energy production among member cotton growers.

He said bio-energy production would contribute to reduced dependence on the national grid for farm electric power.

He added that the cotton output has significantly improved and has positioned the country as one of the leading producers in the region.

He further disclosed that over one thousand farmers from Muchinga, Eastern, Central, Lusaka and Southern Provinces have been trained in cotton value chain skills targeted at upgrading their produce to export standard.

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