Government’s failures in the agriculture sector
The people of Mkushi and of course many Zambians depend on agriculture with the main source of income being maize. Most small scale farmers depend solely on maize farming because the current and previous government have failed to explore the potential for diversification of crops that can be grown to suit specific regions and the weather patterns including, a failure to identify crops that can be grown in rain season as well as in winter.
The PF government removed subsidies on fuel, maize and input from farmers. This increased the production cost on the poor farmers. Further, the current government also reduced the number of bags of fertilizer and seed given to farmers compared to previous allocations by the MMD government.
Today is 11th August, despite the fact that we had poor rainfall pattern in the country which forced many farmers to harvest early, the minister of Agriculture Honorable Given Lubinda wants to come out so smart in his response to the media and in parliament regarding the crop marketing and floor price particularly for maize.
Under the NAREP government, Zambia will be a food basket for the entire Southern African region.
Truth be told, the PF government has no tangible solutions to the problems that most of our farmers are facing, including the commercial farmers. To make matters worse Hon. Lubinda should have served well in another ministry such as Local government or Information and Broadcasting. We would have advised the President to make such changes but since we know that he will not take our advice together with his government, there is nothing we can do about it.
Hon Lubinda should explain to the people of Zambia why, at such a late time, the floor price for maize has not yet been announced. Since we know that the country is surviving on debt, we can conclude that the issue is not about the moisture content of the maize or the many excuses Hon. Lubinda seem to come up with but the fact that the government has NO money to purchase the crops.
We urge all farmers and well-meaning Zambians not to ever vote for a party like PF that has no plan for them. This country still depends on copper as the main Forex earner when we should have moved to agriculture with the focused leadership of President Chipimo.
Under the NAREP government, Zambia will be a food basket for the entire Southern African region. We will reintroduce winter crop cultivation and since many peasant farmers in Mkushi are also in tomato growing, we will support such farmers to enable them expand their production and eventually attract industries that may produce finished products like tomato pastes and ketchup whilst creating local jobs for youths. The commercial farmers will first need to satisfy the local demand for other crops like wheat, soya beans etc. We will be able to make our own cereal and baby porridge by attracting industries to open up not only in Mkushi but countrywide.
Currently we are importing many baby cereals and finished goods processed outside Zambia with all raw materials coming from Zambia which makes these goods more expensive for an average Zambian to afford. By processing locally and exporting the finished products, Zambia will earn a lot of forex and will no longer be surviving on debt. All we need is good leadership to make things happen and not the current leadership we have experimented which is not inspiring. The damage is there for all of us to see.
2016 NAREP Mkushi North Aspiring candidate
11th August, 2015