Zambia National Farmers Union president Jervis Zimba says the problems that the agriculture sector is facing in the country are man-made. Zimba says the agriculture sector was dying due to the heavy tax burden and imports of products that are also produced locally.
Agriculture in addition, to energy, has to have special treatment. We hope that we can within the long-term development of agriculture fully define a different concept of agricultural development in Zambia.
There’s need for the government to pay special attention to the development of agriculture.
A farmer should not be treated the same way as someone producing widgets.
We are the fourth hungriest country in Africa after Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar. Chad and the Central African Republic are semi deserts. We are blessed with gigantic water resources and good soils. Why are we failing to feed our people? Our simple and only explanation is because we have failed to efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner utilise the water and good soils given to us by creation.
We are currently facing a food problem of high prices. Demand for food is increasing ceaselessly. We are not able to meet this demand at low food prices because, among other factors, of energy prices and series of poor harvests due to variable weather at a time of low food stocks.
Special treatment for agriculture is essential if it is to fulfill its vital function of contributing to economic
development, poverty reduction and food security. Our agricultural production needs to substantially increase to meet the rising demand for food resulting from population growth and lifestyle changes. Agricultural growth will rely mainly on new increases in productivity, supported in particular by public and private investment in
physical, human and knowledge capital. Agricultural investment can help contain upward pressure on food prices, thereby enhancing food security.
We need to increase investment in agriculture and rural development as a lever for combating food
insecurity and as an engine for broader economic growth, prosperity and stability.
There’s need for policies that accelerate capital flows to agriculture.
And we need policies that are not only aimed at
increasing investment in agriculture but also at ensuring that investments are sustainable.