By FELIX KATYETYE
Government should consider putting up a consistent policy framework to attract urban residents towards agriculture.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2023 AgriTech Expo in Chisamba district of Central province, Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President Jervis Zimba said Zambia had the potential to address not only the food crises within the country but also in Africa at large.
“We are aware that Zambia is a signatory to various trade protocols, however many concerns remain that we have not utilized these protocols fully. It is not a secret that farmers are capable of producing grain that can be exported to other countries, but there is need for Zambia to fully utilize the trade protocols,” Zimba said.
Government should address challenges affecting small scale farmers, leading to low production; such as low commodity prices and rigidities in the supply chain among other factors.
Africa’s food crises can be addressed if Zambian farmers were able to increase productivity and grain to neighboring countries.
“In order for farmers to achieve this, there is a need for the Government to engage them in revising the agricultural policies as they are the direct beneficiaries unlike changing the policies through technocrats who do not fully understand the challenges that farmers face,” Zimba said.
Speaking at the same function, AgriTech Expo Project Director Lars Huf said that the event was the biggest agriculture rendezvous in Southern Africa, which linking agro business to business.
AgricTech expo showcased improved smart agriculture equipment and facilitated farmers’ engagement with suppliers.
And Golden Agriculture Research Trust Chairman Ashok Oza said Zambia was identified as a regional food production country internationally, and consequently the expo was well-placed.
Oza added that the expo enabled farmers to interact among their ilk and with suppliers and buyers both from within the country and from overseas.
“I thank President Hakainde Hichilema for taking time to officiate at this year’s AgriTech 2023 expo and the exhibitors for making the expo a success.”