A University of Zambia (UNZA) academician says the country should prioritize investment in public marketing infrastructure.
Dr Gelson Tembo, a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture Economic, said investment in the sector was important as it has the potential to sustain broad based agricultural growth.
Dr.Tembo said there is need for the country to shift from fertilizer subsides and price support to infrastructure and institution development to enhance growth in the sector.
He said investment in public infrastructure such as roads, rail, and agricultural extension systems will help improve agriculture marketing in the country.
He said developing infrastructure especially in rural areas would help improve citizen’s capacity to absorb surplus production and deal with unscrupulous traders.
Dr. Tembo said this when he made a presentation at the National Agriculture Symposium on the ‘market development and food security in Zambia’ at UNZA main campus today.
Agriculture and Cooperative minister Brian Chituwo official opened the two day symposium whose main objective is to harness the Agriculture potential to meet the growung demands of a growing population.
The lecturer said Zambia has invested little in agricultural sector, and in the provision of public infrastructure investment to drive down the cost of marketing the trend which has resulted in market failures.
He further said that the low investment in the agriculture sector has resulted in stunted economic growth and high levels of poverty especially in the rural areas.
Dr. Tembo has however commended government for increasing the budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector in the last three years adding that they should continue with the trend.
He said a survey conducted has shown that increasing a national budgetary allocation to more than 16 % to agriculture will help achieve the growth of 6%.
Meanwhile Dr. Tembo said the country has not fully exploited agriculture export potential as the country has one of the most expensive production costs and marketing systems in the region.