ZAMBIA National Farmers Union president Jervis Zimba says while farmers have been through a difficult period recently, it is time to put the challenges behind and have a fresh start.
He said there was need to grow agriculture and this year’s Agritech Expo would avail the latest technologies and agro innovations and machinery that would help the farmer pick up the pieces and start on a fresh agro-trajectory.
Zimba said the ZNFU was in the process of producing a Marshall Plan for short term, medium term and long-term agricultural plans that, if adopted, could help propel the sector to a whole new level.
“As ZNFU, we have an open-door policy and are open to discussions. We would like to share our ideas and plans with government and other stakeholders, and hence platforms like Agritech Expo,” Zimba said.
He said farmers had already set the tone for the approach in agriculture development with many taking the diversification case very religiously.
“We are seeing a shift in the way farmers are conducting business. Many are venturing into fruits and vegetables. There are some farmers that have started growing blueberries, macadamia nuts and such other cash crops. These need support by giving them incentives that would yield growth. They could be helped in the form of tax incentives. And look, the blueberry producer is expected to create 6,000 jobs. Such developments need incentivising,” said Zimba.
President Edgar Lungu is expected to officially open the Agritech Expo Zambia outdoor farming exhibition that returns for the fifth time to Chisamba from April 12-14.
According to a statement, the event is expected to attract more than twenty two thousand visitors this year and will feature some 270 local and international agri equipment and services suppliers.
It stated that the theme of the President’s address during the opening ceremony on Friday April 13 will be: “Resilience part of Zambian nature: Applauding every step forward towards the modernisation of Zambian agriculture.”
President Lungu would be joined by Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Kampamba Mulenga, as well as agriculture minister Michael Katambo.