China's Jilin Province seeks agro cooperation with Zambia

Publish time: 17th October, 2014      Source: Xinhua News Agency
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LUSAKA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Governor of Jilin Province Sui Zhongcheng on Thursday held talks with senior Zambian government officials aimed at establishing cooperation in the agriculture sector.


The deputy governor, who is leading a delegation to the southern African nation, met Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott and later Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Wilbur Simuusa.


During discussions with the Zambian vice-president, the deputy governor said the main purpose of his visit to Zambia was to learn and promote agriculture cooperation with the southern African nation.


He said the Chinese province has a lot of experience in the agriculture sector, adding that there was a lot of room for cooperation with Zambia.


On the other hand, the Zambian vice-president said different countries have tried to start agriculture projects in Zambia but were not successful and asked the Chinese delegation to do a due diligence analysis before embarking on any projects.


Later, the Zambian agriculture minister told the delegation that despite the country having abundant land and a favorable climate for the promotion of the agriculture sector, it has not done so due to a number of challenges.


According to him, Zambia was only utilizing 14 percent of its 75 million hectares of land for agricultural purposes, leaving vast areas lying idle, adding that agricultural production has also faced a number of challenges.


"We have not developed our agriculture very well despite having huge potential for growth. But the government now wants to prioritize the sector and we are looking for people to exploit our land," he said.


"As government we want measures to improve production; we need seeds and fertilizer; we need research and technology; we need help in all these areas," he added.


The deputy governor later signed a memorandum of understanding with Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo for the establishment of an agriculture industrial zone in the Zambian province.


The Zambian government official later told Xinhua in an interview that discussions for the establishment of the agriculture industrial zone have reached an advanced stage, adding that the Chinese delegation has since inspected the land where the zone will be set up.


He said about 3,000 hectares of land was available for the Chinese province to establish its agricultural production and assured of the Zambian government's support and cooperation.


The project will be established by Jilin Province Overseas Agricultural Investment and Development Group Company Limited.