About 300,000 small-scale Zambian farmers are this year expected to grow more than 150,000 hectares of jatropha from which bio-diesel could be produced, local media cited the National Association for Peasant and Small-Scale Farmers of Zambia as saying on Friday.
Association president Rodger Phiri has thus called on the government to quickly develop policy framework for the bio-diesel production, according to Zambia Daily Mail.
Phiri said there was need to develop sustainable agriculture that demonstrates steps towards poverty alleviation and self- empowerment for farmers, noting that the cultivation of jatropha would help rural farmers living in poverty.
He said if agriculture was to be the engine of Zambia's economic development, there was need to increase funding to the sector from the present figures.
"Bio-diesel farming should be encouraged with a road map and targets to be achieved over a number of years," Phiri said.
He also called on the Zambian government to provide training and technological support for farmers to develop jatropha if production of bio-diesel is to be sustained.