Mongu, July 18, 2019, ZANIS---Government has challenged communities in Western province to exploit the existing agricultural potential in the region in order to better their lives and contribute to national development.

Western Province Minister, Richard Kapita, notes that the province can be the bread basket of the country if the local people changed their mindset towards utilizing the abundant water and arable land for agriculture.

The Minister made the remarks when he visited gardening projects under the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in Sesheke, Sioma and Mongu over the weekend.

Mr Kapita wondered why a group of 10 members in Sesheke can only grow a five hectors of vegetables when in their midst lay a robust market in the neighboring Namibia for chili and other vegetables.

The minister said government is promoting a shift from a copper based economy to agriculture and tourism advising that citizens must fully take advantage of the favourable economic policies put in place by the State and liberate themselves from economic woes.

Mr Kapita also challenged those living around the Zambezi to engage in serious agriculture so that they can be supplying their produce to the local chain stores.

He said contrary to asking for alms people must work hard and produce various agricultural commodities for them to raise the much needed income for their families.

The Provincial Minister also stated that the locals needed to take advantage of the maize market in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by producing more winter maize.

Mr Kapita said equally Northern, Luapula and North-Western had great potential for agriculture adding that it was sad that even there people needed to change their mindset.

Recently, Vice President Inonge Wina challenged chain stores of foreign origin to allow local producers to sell their agricultural produce.

However, the current production capacity in the nation remains unreasonably low due to inertia and poor attitude amongst most citizens.