PMRC welcome Govt’s ban on import of certain agro products

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The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has welcomed Government ban on the importation of some agricultural products.

The Ministry of Agriculture recently named the banned agricultural produce as tomatoes, onions, carrots, mangoes, potatoes, pineapples, lemons and watermelons. 

The Ministry said the ban follows numerous concerns by local farmers that the imported produce had a negative impact on their businesses.

PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Deka said in a statement that this decision cements Government’s resolve towards developing a sustainable, diversified and competitive agriculture sector, which has immense potential to improve the livelihoods of the people.

Ms. Deka added that this is an opportunity for farmers to further expand their production and compliments efforts that have been launched such as the “Buy Zambian Campaign”. 

“We note that several countries tend to introduce bans in order to reduce the amount of foreign exchange used for imports while other countries do so to stimulate local production. It has been observed however that for some countries, when foreign exchange earnings improve they tend to relax on the bans. As best practice, such bans are usually implemented after policies and incentives that promote local production have been affected,” Ms. Deka said.

She cited Nigeria and Zimbabwe as some of the countries that have had similar bans with Zimbabwe also having an import control mechanism.

Ms. Deka said, “Another example is that Nigeria had previously imposed bans on imports of barley and this helped to stimulate the use of locally produced sorghum to produce beer despite the motivation being foreign exchange management, not necessarily promoting innovation in brewing. This shows the dynamics around the ban of imports of selected vegetables and fruits.”

She said Zambia has abundant water resources, good soils and good climate overall for the growing of crops.

“The maize surplus for instance is an indication that we can manage to produce even more with the right methods and technology. PMRC therefore applauds Government for this decision, as it promotes empowerment of the local farmers and suppliers,” she said.

“Further, this provides a ready market for the farmers and hence there is need for more production to ensure that there are no gaps in the supply of quality vegetables and fruits.  To this effect, an assessment needs to be conducted to ascertain the demand statistics of the particular fruits and vegetables on the Zambian market,” Ms. Deka prodded.

She said this will ensure that the farmers cultivate with accurate figures and would guide the produce with surplus.

“On the issue of capacity and technology, the farmers are therefore challenged to venture into innovative and effective farming methods that will ensure quality produce in bulk on a consistent basis. It is therefore an opportunity for the local farmers to improve their farming methods.”

“To this effect, the local farmers should now embark on securing finances and venture into innovative methods of farming as well as technology that would promote efficiency,” she said.

She said the Government should therefore further invest in infrastructure that would aid the local farmers in their production.

“This can be done with the assistance of the private sector and other cooperating partners. The importance of investing in infrastructure has significant implications for food production, storage and distribution. Other factors that our local farmers should engage in are consulting on the preferred varieties for the fruit and vegetables to the local market of supermarkets and chain stores.”

She said to this effect, PMRC supports calls for the Zambia Bureau of Standard (ZABS) to develop a scale of standards that local farmers should meet in the production and distribution of the stated produce; as this is the only way that will create a win –win situation for both suppliers and consumers.

Ms. Deka said there should be a coordinated system that will enable farmers to supply consistently to the market.

“In view of Government’s decision to promote Industrial Clusters and Multi Facility Economic Zones, PMRC also calls for the establishment of such strategic ventures focusing on agriculture. This would be timely provided that the country is determined to diversify into agriculture and further promote crop diversification,” she said.

“It does suffice to say however, that without reliable roads, storage facilities, power supply and irrigation there may be concerted delays for Zambia to radically diversify and transform the agriculture sector. Further, much emphasis must be placed towards research as this will provide evidence based trends and new concepts in agriculture that will aid the development of the sector and promote good varieties of fruits and vegetables to be planted.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. vote

    Too much talking. Do you know how many tonnes of Mangoes goes to waste. Do you know that Argentina is the largest supplier of lemons to the United States and the Uninted States is not happy with the quality of the lemons and Zambia has the idle land every where. Do you know that Agricultural Marketing in Zambia is very poor. Who has seen the diversification program? Do you know that Zambia is too rich to be poor. Do you know that the dream from our leaders for diversification is too small. If a leader throws some tuma feed in fish fingerlings to them, it’s diversification.

  2. vote

    Mpundu you are 100%correct. Now the good ms Deka cites zimbabwe and nigeria. Two glowing examples zimbabwe bankrupt nigeria likewise without its oil industry.
    How long to implement strategies to meet standards. So everybody grows for the supermarkets who supplies the local markets.
    Read bank account, bank charges, tax, proper invoices accounting. Lady you are in Zambia not in the western world.
    Come up with a viable plan for local farmers. Middlemen will win here. Shoprite tell you what they will pay nkt what you want

  3. vote

    To all bloggers thanks for me being on this blog and your comments. But now is the time for me to stop
    Too much politics too little working together to improve zambia. You cant progress a country without a structured plan .ad hoc decisions do nothing. Eventually unravel
    Plans from do gooders must be tailored for zambia and zambians not based on what you do in the ma zungu world.
    Each african country is unique. Good luck boys.
    Terrible hihohioi. Probably enjoy a mosi with you if we met …… if they let you out of the Office

  4. +1
    0
    vote

    Banning imports without thinking about local capacities is too drastic. Banning imports without thinking about local capacities is too disruptive. Banning imports without thinking about local capacities is too porous. What is needed is smart solutions. For instance, raising tariffs can prevent unnecessary imports. For instance, exporting more maize can pay for fruit and vegetable imports. For instance, exporting more coffee can pay for fruit and vegetable imports. For instance, exporting more electric power can pay for fruit and vegetable imports. For instance, more renewable energy is more cost effective. There is need to focus on the big picture. In the big picture, there are linkages. The answer to imports is exports. The moment you focus on cutting imports, you lose focus on exports…

  5. +1
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    The problem with this government they don’t consult the local people on if this is done what’s the impact on the people is it affecting work lose with people how will it improve the economy the haven’t even done the research if the local produce if it meets the standards and expectations for big traders like shoprite, these people in government work up in the morning and make decisions without consulting

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