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Alba Iulia
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Guy Scott wants an end to amateurism in Agriculture

Economy Guy Scott wants an end to amateurism in Agriculture

CSO-SUN National Cordinator William Chilufya delivering his opening remarks at the High Level Policy Forum on agriculture
CSO-SUN National Cordinator William Chilufya delivering his opening remarks at the High Level Policy Forum on agriculture

Vice President Dr Guy Scott says Zambian farmers need to change their attitude towards agriculture if the sector is to reach its full potential. Dr Scott observed that most farmers in Zambia treat agriculture as a hobby.

He said the amateurish attitude that most Zambian farmers have towards agriculture need to change if the sector is to be viable.

Dr Scott was speaking in Lusaka when he officiated at a one day High Level Policy Forum on agriculture in Lusaka organised by a consortium of NGO under the theme “Revitalising Agriculture in Zambia towards the 2024 AU Year of Agriculture- “Changing the way we do Agric in Zambia.

“In Zambia we have something similar to the Dutch disease, in fact Kenneth Kaunda didn’t understand economics and I don’t think he still understands economics but he had a good instinct about something and he said am afraid we are cursed because we were born with a copper spoon in our mouth and that destroyed the rest of the economy and I think he had a point.”

Dr Scott also received the “Do Agric” petition calling for increased investments in agriculture.

Dr Scott and Simuusa join other African leaders such as Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Yayi Boni of Benin in receiving this petition.

The petition is a product of the Do Agric campaign, pan-African initiative led by ONE.org launched in January 2014 to support 2014, AU Year of Agriculture have new commitment that can have end poverty and hunger in Africa.

Dr Scott said Zambia has been discussing economic diversification from mining to other sectors such as agriculture with little success.

“We need to stop reinventing the wheel, we’ve had, I don’t know how many hundreds of projects, NGO driven the projects, Government’s own initiatives aimed at this or that in agriculture and our performance has been below that of our neighbouring countries and a lot of this is due to what they call the Dutch disease,” Dr Scott said.

He added, “In Zambia we have something similar to the Dutch disease, in fact Kenneth Kaunda didn’t understand economics and I don’t think he still understands economics but he had a good instinct about something and he said am afraid we are cursed because we were born with a copper spoon in our mouth and that destroyed the rest of the economy and I think he had a point.”

Dr Scott lamented: “We don’t think business is like agriculture, we don’t say we have to make money out of it. We must export it, we must grow it if its profitable and not if its unprofitable, we just think agriculture is some kind of hobby we do if we are not mining copper. We grow something and we say am a farmer and that curse of Zambia has not gone away yet despite the fact that we’ve spent many years with copper prices so low and we still ant do agriculture variably.”

And Agriculture Minister Wilbur Simuusa committed to working with civil society towards creating an agriculture investment and reform framework that benefits small holder farmers and small to medium sized agri-businesses in Zambia.

“During the year of agriculture, we need to put our money where our mouth is, our government will ensure the same rate of increase in the budget until we meet and exceed the Maputo target of 10%. We want to ensure that the current 7% allocated towards agriculture boosts both production and processing agricultural activities for Zambia to realise the multiplier effect on,” he said.

And Deputy Director for ONE Africa Nachilala Nkombo said it is important for Africa’s leaders to heed the call of the more than 2 million Africans who have signed the petition particularly on closing the gender gap in agriculture.

“These African citizens have come forward telling their leaders to Do Agric because they know that Africa will not succeed in eliminating extreme poverty and hunger if the majority of small holder farmers are not empowerment with modern technologies, cutting edge training and market intelligence systems they need to thrive, she remarked”.
She added, “Lets ensure equal access to productive assets and resources for women and youth will be central in any African governments winning tragedy to cut poverty and create millions of jobs.”

At the same event, CSO-SUN Alliance National Coordinator William Chilufya observed that although Zambia has over the past years achieved food security with regard to staple cereal, achieving food and nutrition security as recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization and other international agencies still remains a challenge to the government.

Mr Chilufya said the reality is that malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges facing Zambia today.

“Currently, nearly one in every two children in Zambia is stunted or small for their age. In fact, Zambia has one of the highest rates of stunting in children under five years old in the world. At 45.8%, higher than the 42% average rate for Africa, Zambia’s rate of child stunting remains higher than the vast majority of its neighbouring countries,” he said.

He added, “The high levels of Malnutrition in Zambia create an urgent call to ensure that investment in agriculture becomes a core part of the solution and a preventive strategy by ensuring food is affordable and diverse.”

Mr Chilufya said to do this, Zambia needs to reform existing Agriculture plans to increase their impact on Nutrition by encouraging diversity in food production that is aimed at improving the nutritional outcome of the population through maximizing the positive impact of food and agricultural systems on nutrition.

Delegates speaking at the media interaction shortly after the end of the High Level Policy Forum
Delegates speaking at the media interaction shortly after the end of the High Level Policy Forum

16 COMMENTS

  1. its time the vice president started using mature speeches. he is fool of childish talk. what do you mean by amateurism? there is no such term in agric. if you say subsistence, peasant, commercial we will understand. please provide leadership. teach your farmers business skills. cease from gallery pandering!

  2. Agriculture is in a mess in Zambia, not that the government don’t invest, but because the same people it pays money as agriculture workers are doing nothing and most of them knows nothing. They spend more time on workshops year in year out. actually they even straggle to finish the money set for workshops. The money they spend on an fruitful workshops could be used for more profitable works like teaching farmers. We need to mechanize our agriculture system and stop this useless maize/ fertilizer subsides that are almost half of our budget. Lets us teach farmers how to grow other crops like fish, soya beans, rice etc. Infact because of global warming, southern province is having floods, so why cant we grow rice? I call upon the government to build dams and foster irrigation other than rain

  3. well said even I couldn’t understand amateurish, this man is bad with speeches, hope we don’t send him to those Arabs he will come piss them off and return in
    a coffin. he really needs someone to write his speeches

    • I am convinced the man has an attittude problem. He thinks because English is his first language and living in a predominantly african society, he does not need anyone to write his speeches. Guy thinks he can just stand up and string a few sentences off the cuff and all the black recipients of the message will be be impressed. In the event that a speech has been prepared, the man will wander off the script and end up looking “amarteurish”. But then again, that is typical PF. Ukwa is no different.

  4. Seems to me the agricultural sector was doing very well thank you until a fateful day in September 2011 when some amateurs took over the reins of power…..

    • I have a lot of passion when we deal with agriculture issues.Research shows that USA and Canada are still subsidsing farmers and yet they are developed nations With a high number of Commercial farmers.One important fact is that people will always need food.The whole world is in food for food,yet the the mouths to feed are to many for few farmers.Agriculture provides a large but single source for raw materials.what do i mean for example almost all products in shop rite are processed foods or agric related products.we as zambian’s we should realise that we are spending a lot of money on imported food products.If we invest in agriculture we can increase our GDP and reduce poverty faster than any other form of investment .we have plenty of un taped water and fertile soils as well as good…

  5. “Lets hear it for the pigs!!” Yes Scott should tell us about “swine flu” & saga of his pigs killed for easy Tax-payers compensation – sounded & remains scandalous!!!

  6. climate .what then are our reasons for failing to develop our agriculture ?1.Lazzyness and lack of knowledge on how to grow our crops well.2.misplaced Government priorities , lack of political will and ignorance by those holding high officers in government that agriculture is an important tool for Economic development and self relaince.3.Agriculture marketing is poor especially among subsistance farmers,ussually farmers are coned,hence end up marking huge loses, lastily giving up farming .4.Imputs and equipment is too expensive in Zambia,even and under good crop management farmers still end up marking loses.Land ownership is made imposible due long process of getting title deeds.

  7. The problem with us Zambians is that we only think agriculture is maize.. we don’t want to venture in thins like rice and wheat..

  8. Indeed Scott is very right on this one, the attitude towards Zambian farmers is really pathetic, they don’t take farming as a business, but as a routine year in year out. As long as it rains they have to farm all they know is nga yabuluma kubyala. If business skills were to be imparted in most of these subsistence farmers most of them would come to a rude shock then they would realize that they have remained poor all because they have making loses and they don’t realize it.
    For instance if a child went in the field made few plants fall or burnt cobs when roasting, it would be no ones business, on the contrary if the same child got a fritter and after a bit throws it away eyes would roll
    PAINIFUL TRUTH its” ITS CHEAPER TO BUY THAN TO GROW MAIZE IN ZAMBIA!

    • You have points in there. Not only in agric. Zambians are lazy ( and I mean it). Its time to change the mindset of our people.

    • Commercial farming in a tropical climate is an expensive business. Farming is only profitable when its a full time year round activity. To rely on rain fed crops is to be at the mercy of nature. Our soil types generally in these latitudes are acidic requiring liming and fertilizing to make the venture profitable. To make farming a success in Zambia, farmers have to practice mixed farming (animal and crop husbandry) or have an irrigation system. In temprate climates, rain patterns are not restricted to a few months and so a farmer (aside from recieving government subsidies) can be a crop farmer but be productive most of the year apart from the winter. Irrigation systems are not required as the rain patterns are virtually throughout the year. Irrigation is key in Zambia + training

  9. When I look into PF leaders, I fail to come up with one who can speak sense. Sometimes the only person is the half Muzungu and if he was given the seat of Vice president he could articulate issues well but not the Full Muzungu, he only shows always he ignorance in his speech. I wonder why he behaves like this.

  10. I’m sorry, but VP Guy Scott is clueless about agriculture and mining’s place in the economy.

    That’s not a terrible, because people can change their mind and learn more.

    Howevever, throwing around terms like ‘Dutch Disease’ is a sign of lack of imagination and understanding. According to Investopedia:

    “Definition of ‘Dutch Disease’

    ” Negative consequences arising from large increases in a country’s income. Dutch disease is primarily associated with a natural resource discovery, but it can result from any large increase in foreign currency, including foreign direct investment, foreign aid or a substantial increase in natural resource prices. ”

    None of which are applicable to Zambia’s situation in 2014.

    • The problem is capital flight, including legal capital flight (Anil Agirwal’s KCM) because the mines are not in state hands, nor are they heavily taxed.

      That’s the problem – and why there isn’t enough money in agriculture, manufacturing.

      The problem is that we are losing BILLIONS of dollars a year because the mines are foreign owned and have captured the political scene.

      THAT’s the problem.

      The Windfall Tax is the solution.

      Solving why and the political class is unwilling to go after the mines, THAT is the way forward.

    • Just to refine my statement:

      ” “Definition of ‘Dutch Disease’

      ” Negative consequences arising from large increases in a country’s income. ”

      The term Dutch Disease does not apply, because Zambia does not have a “large increase of income”, it has a large increase in GDP – except that this GDP is not Zambian. It is Indian, Australian, British, American, Canadian and Chinese.

      So it isn’t as if the Zambian economy is being flooded with hard currency, leading to an increase in prices of other goods. It is that there is a massive *outflow* of both copper and dollars, leading to underfinancing of agriculture, manufacturing, and infrastructure.

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