ZNFU hails ban on vegetable imports

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:15:51 +0000

 

By BENNIE MUNDANDO

IT IS nonsensical and an insult to Zambian farmers for chain stores to claim that they will fail to satisfy the local market after Government banned the importation of vegetables because whatever they are importing can be produced in large quantities in Zambia, the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has charged.

And ZNFU has praised Government for suspending the importation of vegetables, saying the move was long overdue and that it will enhance productivity among local farmers and help in the diversification of the agriculture sector.

ZNFU president Jervis Zimba told the Daily Nation yesterday that the claim by some chain stores that the agriculture sector in Zambia could not meet the country’s demand for vegetables was illogical, unfounded and an insult to Zambian farmers.

Mr. Zimba said Zambian farmers had always been disadvantaged by chain stores which were insisting on importing agricultural products from countries of their origin at the expense of local products, a move he said had forced most farmers to neglect the growing of vegetables.

He said Zambia had abundant water and good soils for the growing of crops and that there was no way the farmers could fail to produce what other countries which did not have abundant water and good soils were growing.

“It is utter nonsense to say that the country cannot produce vegetables which these chain stores can stock to feed the whole country because we have never failed to feed ourselves for a long time now.

“We can’t even remember the last time we imported maize because our farmers have never failed to produce the crop even when we are hit by a severe drought. So, if we can produce a maize surplus every farming season, what will prevent us from satisfying the local market demand for vegetables? Let them not insult us,” Mr. Zimba said. He accused multinational companies of wanting to promote goods produced by foreign countries because they wanted their respective countries to earn foreign exchange.

“For how long should Zambia continue losing forex simply because these companies want to promote their products? I can tell you that there will be no vacuum as a result of this ban and I want to challenge all these companies which are making wild allegations to make their orders and see if we will not deliver,” he said.

He praised Government for the decision, saying that was the only way Zambian farmers would expand their production as well as encouraging Zambians to consume local products.

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