Nuclear technology is expected to boost agricultural development in Zambia. The country’s agricultural sector is the main support for the country’s rural economy. Zambia is uniquely blessed with resources which are rich for agricultural development and if harnessed fully then it can enable the country to become the breadbasket of the East and South African region.
About 48.9% of the Zambian population depends on agriculture, for their livelihoods and employment primarily through small holder production.
Maize which is Zambia’s primary staple crop is under attack from fall army worms. Dmitri Vysotski, Director of Nuclear Research Reactors at Rosatom Overseas said that in order to guarantee future crop yields and food security, maize seeds and plants need to be protected. Farmers have been using large amount of pesticides which have a negative impact on the environment. Hence, resulting in the development of resistance against pesticides among various insect species.
The alternate method is the usage of nuclear science to deal with these harmful pests without affecting the soil and environment. According to Rosatom, this technology would decontaminate chemicals and pesticides by increasing the shelf life of products with no harm to food and storage.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year around 600 million people suffer from contaminated food. Rosatom also mentioned that Africa has the highest level of food-borne diseases with more than 90 million people falling ill and almost 130,000 dying every year. Food irradiation is a life-saving technology as it eradicates bacteria and parasites that can cause food-borne diseases.
Image Credit: The Citizen
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