Food scarcity in 8 neighbouring countries threatened his country’s food sufficiency, Zambia’s President Hichilema tells Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Dongyu

Eight Southern African countries have been heavily impacted by external food demand as a result of climate change-induced pressures such as drought and famine has prompted Zambia to request assistance from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the agriculture sector in order to cope with the situation.

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema told FAO Director General Qu Dongyu on Wednesday during a meeting in Rome, Italy’s capital, that food scarcity in neighbouring countries has threatened his country’s food sufficiency.

“Zambia’s food sufficiency is threatened by shortages in neighbouring countries. Therefore, we urged the FAO to leverage Zambia’s central location and favourable hydrological and water conditions for two cycles of cereal crop production per year, enhancing per-acre yields,” Hichilema said in a post on social media platform X following his talks with Dongyu.

Zambia is surrounded by eight Southern African neighbours and has been largely hit by external food demand due to climate change-induced pressures such as drought and famine that have hit the region.

Hichilema said his country is desirous of acquiring cutting-edge technology in water harvesting, precision irrigation, mechanization, and husbandry efforts, making FAO support emerging farmers through an agriculture credit window created by his administration to enhance productivity for both local and regional markets.

“Zambia and the FAO have maintained cordial relations since 1965 and our collaboration in food and nutrition security, natural resource management and climate change mitigation has strengthened over the years,” he stated in a separate Facebook post on Wednesday.

“We acknowledged FAO’s support in capacity building for sustainable forestry and emphasized the government’s focus on increasing production and productivity to improve food security for the nation and the region,” he added.

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