University of Zambia
University of Zambia

The University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Agricultural Sciences says Government should engage the private sector in the setting up of solar modules in farm structures which are not connected to the national grid to boost agricultural development through irrigation systems.

UNZA department of soil science dean Benson Chishala said continuous failure to access power by most smallholder farmers in remote areas has had a negative impact on productivity in the country.
Dr Chishala was speaking when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on agriculture chaired by Kaputa Member of Parliament Maxas Ng’onga, recently,
He said most small-scale farmers are having challenges in increasing productivity as they are unable to irrigate their crops due to lack of access to electricity.
“Another challenge which farmers face is that of power. The Zesco grid is inaccessible for most farmers in rural Zambia located away from the line of rail and major roads. In such cases solar power may be a more viable option. Therefore, it is important for Government to partner with the private sector in setting up off-grid photovoltaic solar modules for operating farm systems requiring electrical water pumps,” Dr Chishala said.
He said most small-scale farmers are also faced with challenges in relation to failure to access technical knowledge on how to increase and realise full agricultural production.