The growing demand for organic products on both the local and export markets will significantly contribute to growth and poverty reduction, a senior Zambian agricultural official has said in Lusaka.
Times of Zambia Wednesday quoted Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative Richard Chizyuka as saying that organic farming is a growing sector both at local and international level.
He told a regional workshop sponsored by the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia that the growth of the global market for organic products currently stands at around 20 percent annually.
"Since 1999, organically certified fresh vegetables, honey, groundnuts, wild harvest mushrooms and essential oils have been exported to the regional and European markets. Organic farming is therefore a major component in sustainable rural development and in improving food security and increasing farmers' incomes," he said at the workshop opened Tuesday.
Organic farming is an alternative production system to conventional agriculture that restores biological diversity and improves soil with minimum alteration of the natural resources base, he said.
He said that the Zambian government will maintain its position not to accept any products containing genetically modified organisms in order to protect the organic sector.
The two-day workshop attracted participants from Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda besides Zambia.