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Trials begin for drought -resistant crops

To address the prolonged drought crisis in the Country which is pervasive in the Southern region, National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) has started conducting trials on some drought resistant crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes.

NISIR Head of plant science research center 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 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 said 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 Mr. Mutati urged NISIR to come up with crops that can be grown in each Province to withstand drought conditions.

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

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

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