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The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research NISIR has started conducting trials on some drought resistant varieties of cassava and sweet potatoes, with a view to recommending them to the Southern part of the country which has been hit hard by the drought. 

NISIR Head of plant Science Research centre Alinesi Chakwiya says the centre is conducting trials on varieties which use little water but can thrive and feed people.

Speaking when Technology and science Minister Felix Mutati visited the NISIR plant science research centre in Kitwe, Dr. Chakwiya said trials on cassava will take a minimum three years, while sweet potato trials will take a year and half.

“In a year or two, the center will be able to recommend the plants that government can grow in the southern region so that people can plant them in drought conditions,” said Dr. Chakwiya in a statement issued to RCV News in Lusaka today.

And Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati has urged NISIR to come up with crops that can withstand drought conditions and be grown in each province.

Mr. Mutati says having regional recommendations will help government promote food security at household level.

He says some cooperating partners are willing to help Zambia promote crops that can withstand effects of climate change once they have been studied and recommended.

By Chimba Chilopa / Angel Kasabo