President Hakainde Hichilema underscored Zambia’s commitment to agricultural transformation this weekend, officially commissioning the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) Zambia facilities as the Southern Africa Research and administrative hub in Chongwe.

The state-of-the-art complex, a collaborative effort between the Zambian government and IITA, is touted as a game-changer for regional food security. President Hichilema hailed the project, saying, “This is a testament to our resolve to modernise agriculture and empower our farmers. IITA’s expertise, coupled with Zambia’s fertile land and hardworking people, has the potential to revolutionize how we feed not just our nation, but the entire Southern African region.”

The new hub boasts research labs, greenhouses, and training facilities designed to spearhead advancements in areas like crop breeding, disease resistance, and sustainable farming practices. IITA’s Director for Southern Africa, Dr. Emmanuel Mbiha, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This marks a new era for agricultural research in Southern Africa. The IITA Zambia hub will serve as a beacon of innovation, providing farmers with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive.”

President Hichilema’s address highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving food security. “We are determined to create an environment that fosters collaboration between the government, research institutions, and the private sector,” he remarked. “By working together, we can unlock the full potential of Zambia’s agricultural sector and ensure a brighter future for all.”

The commissioning ceremony was attended by dignitaries, agricultural stakeholders, and local farmers. The event served as a powerful symbol of Zambia’s commitment to agricultural development and its vision of becoming a regional breadbasket. With the IITA Zambia hub up and running, the seeds of a more food-secure future have undoubtedly been sown.