LUSAKA, Zambia's Agricultural and Commercial Show, which is in its 91st edition this year, provides an opportunity to promote the agricultural sector -- mostly the products of emerging farmers -- from Zambia and the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region.

South African President Jacob Zuma officially opened this year's show over the weekend as the guest of honour at the invitation of President Edgar Lungu of Zambia.

This annual show provides us with a great opportunity for promoting co-operation and economic integration that will benefit the whole SADC region, particularly in the critical sector of agriculture, the primary source of our economies and sustenance. The visit also afforded us a conducive and a sustainable environment for economic exchanges between our two countries as well as for our SADC region, President Zuma said.

He said the show contributed immensely to promoting agriculture in the region. Agriculture is the bedrock of the economy of the SADC region as a whole. The performance of agriculture has a strong influence on food security, economic growth and stability of the SADC region. As such, the focus on agriculture remains high on the priority list and is of critical importance, he said.

President Zuma said the annual show, being held this year under the theme, The Promotion of a Green Economy, was of great significance to both South Africa and Zambia and provided an appropriate occasion to promote the agricultural sector, mostly the products of the emerging farmers not only from Zambia but the SADC region and the continent as a whole.

During his one-day visit, President Zuma also held talks with President Lungu on various issues of mutual concern, including expanding the areas of co-operation to include the political, economic, security and cultural fields. South Africa and Zambia continue to have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.

During his visit, President Zuma also called on the founding President of independent Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, at his home in Lusaka. The 93-year-old Zambian statesman was discharged from hospital recently.

"I was pleased to see our father and the icon of the African liberation struggle, President Kenneth Kaunda, in good spirits and shape. I extended, on behalf of Government and the people of South Africa, wishes for good health and many more years of a peaceful and enjoyable retirement, President Zuma said.

President Zuma was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana. he returned to South Africa later Saturday.