President Rupiah Banda has hailed farmers in Zambia for their hard work which resulting in the recording of a bumper harvest of 2.8 million tonnes maize in the last framing season.
In his message to mark this year's 46th independence celebrations, President Banda in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by the president's special assistant for Press and public relations Dickson Jere, Mr Banda said the bumper harvest was a great achievement.
Reflecting on this year's celebratory theme of "Consolidating Our Independence Through Food Security", the president hailed his Government's revised and improved Farmer Input Support Programme which delivered this year's record breaking bumper maize harvest.
President Banda said: "Join me in congratulating the farming community, particularly small-scale farmers who are the majority in Zambia. Their contribution to the attainment of the Government's policy objective of ensuring national food security is to be saluted".
He noted that under his leadershi, Zambia was benefitting from this year's biggest ever harvest, producing 2.78 million tonnes of maize - a surplus of more than one million tonnes - leading to a reduction in inflation rate to 7.7 per cent in September 2010.
Demonstrating his commitment to food security, President Banda has launched a programme of agriculture, infrastructure, health and education investment and development aimed at making agricultural supplies cheaper and more competitive.
He called on the private sector to work together with the Government to build on this foundation in the quest for prosperity, growth and job security.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of national food security; if we cannot feed ourselves we are not truly independent. So as we take a moment to celebrate our independence through food security, I pledge that your Government will continue maintaining economic stability and improving the investment climate to further foster growth for the benefit of all Zambians," he said.
He also called on all Zambians to participate in the newly launched census which is currently taking place through the country.
"The census will help the Government to "plan in a way which will benefit our growing population," the president said.
Meanwhile, President Banda yesterday hosted a luncheon for diplomats and other dignitaries in honour of Zambians who died during the struggle for freedom.
In his brief speech at the luncheon attended by first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda, freedom fighters, former vice-president Enoch Kavindele and other senior Government officials, Mr Banda said the event was in honour of the heroes.
He lightly said that after Sunday's Independence celebrations, the luncheon would be informal for the guests to relax and interact.
The president. however, thanked some entertainment groups that graced the independence celebrations in the show grounds.
He commended the Botswana national dancing troupe, combined defence forces choir, the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) choir and a dancing troupe from Zambezi in North-Western Province.
Meanwhile. the president said that it was wrong for some opposition leaders to shun independence celebrations even after being invited to the event.
"That's their own fault this is their country," president Banda said in response to a question from journalists.
The Botswana national dance troupe, Zambezi Dance Troupe, the combined Defence Forces choir and the UCZ choir entertained guests.