Local produce should flood  major chain stores, says expert

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 11:36:12 +0000



 GOVERNMENT must come up with a policy that will protect the interests of local farmers so that they can supply to the major chain stores operating in Zambia, says Zambia Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative (ZARDI) executive director Gilbert Mpanga.

Mr Mpanga said it was unacceptable for Zambia to import fruits such as mangoes when local fruit went to waste each year.

He said it was shocking and disappointing that Zambia was rich in foods that could be supplied to foreign-owned supermarkets but that local farmers were not considered as a priority.

He wondered what criteria was used, saying the most embarrassing situation was to see imported mangoes on the shelves of most of the foreign-owned chain stores, when the country had plenty of mangoes that were rotting due to lack of market.

Mr Mpanga said the local farmers were capable of feeding the nation should they receive massive support from relevant stakeholders.

Government must put a policy that would support the local producers because proper market was lacking, hence denying farmers opportunities.

“We cannot reach the extent of importing mangoes especially that this time they are in season and a lot of them are going to waste because our farmers do not have a market.

“It is not South Africa alone doing better in farming, we can do better provided we have that support and a policy that protects the interests of the farmers so that they are accommodated in these foreign chain stores operating in Zambia,” he said.

Mr Mpanga said horticulture was poised to be one of the most successful sectors within the agricultural industry in Zambia but that smallholder farmers were hindered by limited access to markets.

He said Zambia was now promoting the agriculture sector to boost the economy and that such policy could only succeed if there was support for local production.

Mr Mpanga said local farmers should be empowered and motivated so that they increased their productivity.

“I was impressed when I saw the Head of State buying mangoes and eat from the streets of Lusaka, and that directive from the Government for foreign-owned supermarkets to be buying vegetables from local farmers instead of importing them from South Africa should be put into action for the benefit of this country,” he said.


He said promoting the horticulture industry as a sub-sector in agriculture would also reduce poverty among smallholder farmers by creating jobs.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button