UNZA academician calls for prioritisation of investiment in public infrastructure

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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.

ZANIS/GP/ENDS/MM

11 COMMENTS

  1. vote

    National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD). This lecturer is copying notes from KK

  2. vote

    well put, these guys have reduced the budgeary allocation from about 19% of the total budget in the late 1980’s( kaunda era ) to about 6 % in 2008 , most of which goes to personal related expenses and the Fertilizer Support Programme,

    The rest of the story is what Dr. Tembo is talking about, we need to prioritize infrastructure development & extension service system.

  3. vote

    Zambia has produced some finest human resource ever. Alas, we do not engage their sound and well researched recommendations in formulating government policy. The 50pin fertilizer subsidy, which is untenable, will still come up in the MMD 2011 electioneering despite Dr. Tembo’s observation.

  4. vote

    I hope all positive things that are being discussed at the said UNZA Symposium will be taken seriously.

    Following “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%”, I will watch this information closely and take note of GRZ’s reaction while observing how theorectical information will match up with the actual data that will be achieved at the end of the fiscal year.

    Otherwise, agriculture is just one of the sectors to be taken seriously if Zambia hopes to have a dynamic and sensible economy.

  5. vote

    Well, I’ve a huge problem with you people’s understadning of agriculture. What is it that should make us give 16% agriculture? Why shouldn’t we have that money go to local governments in the various districts? For example, feeder road grading is not a function of MACO, neither is storage shed maintenance. These should be left to local authorities to sub contract local companies to undertake grading and building of storage infrastructure. Same goes for irrigation which can be under the water utility compnaies in the various provinces. The fertiliser support program is another wastage. Why not task chiefs/headmen who know who their subjects are to distribute the fertilisers? That could be done with social welfare ministry who know how to identify vulnerable people. Next, bring back NCZ.

  6. vote

    contd from 6. The next thing is to invest in research and development. Why should we have denkete year-in-year-out. How do we have a good harvest even in times of drought? How is it that countries like japan with no much arable land like Z’s can feed her 127,078,679 population on 374,744 sq km as opposed to Z’s 740,724 sq km for a population of 11,862,740? Are we really making it with rural farming approaches? What would happen if we contracted commercial farmers in selected provinces to produce particular crops all-year-round? What if that system was implemented on a rotational basis, say this eastern=gnuts, southern=maize, norther=cassava and son on? These are the questions we need to answer thru research.

  7. vote

    I totally agree with Dr Tembo and call for the abolition of the fertilizer Support program in favour of more allocation towards market infrastructre and development, reseach, extension, on farm storage structures, rural roads and irrigation.The impact on the Agricultural sector will be much greater than the Fertilizer subsidies under the FSP which are just crowding- out the private sector participation and a corrupt instrument for political leaders,cadres, ‘political cooperatives’ and Ministry of Agricultural staff. The yields for FSP beneficiaries are still averaging 20- 35 bags per hactre instead of somewhere around 80 -90 bags/ ha meaning the are other expalanatoty variables at play

  8. vote

    Hypocrisy you all are , I did mention of agric extension services ,alas I was not supported ,based on the indaba of Zambian gatherings and supported by the North- south corridor… Shame upon the old age of Sata , and the greedy of HH…. and the retiring Farmer RB…..

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