President Edgar Lungu has urged citizens to form cooperatives to ensure that they meet quality and safety demands if the directive for Chain Stores to procure Zambian produce is to be actualised.
President Lungu says this is the only way that Zambia shall collectively achieve the national strategic objective to: “Produce Local, Buy Local, and Use Local”.
He said in order to self-sustain the country’s economy now and in the long-term, Zambians must first produce local, buy local, and use local, and then export more.
President Lungu said with Courage, Patriotism, Collective Action, Perseverance and Hope, Zambians must face the days ahead, knowing too well that the country shall covid-19.
During his third address to the Nation on COVID-19 on 24th April 2020, the President directed the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to ensure that chain stores prioritise local agricultural products in their localities.
He said the current situation Zambia find itself in opens a window of opportunity for Zambian farmers to produce and sell their products to chain stores, that for a long time have denied them business and opted for foreign products.
“If a chain store is in Chipata, let them buy agriculture products from our farmers in Eastern province. Under the circumstances we are in, only products that cannot be sourced from locals should be imported”, he said.
He expressed hope that once this is actualised, even after COVID-19, farmers will continue trading with these chain stores.
Meanwhile, Economics Association of Zambia President Lubinda Habazoka says the directive to the Ministry of Commerce by President Edgar Lungu to ensure that local farmers are given preference in chain stores should excite all those that are in farming.
Dr Habazooka has advised small scale farmers to form groups where they can guarantee quality, quantity and timely delivery to chain stores.
He said this is a big plus to those that are in farming and know the hustle.
Dr Habazooka notes that it has been difficult to get local goods on shelves and this move will significantly reduce pressure on the Zambian Kwacha.
He also emphasized on the need for local businesses to consider opening chain stores which will procure most of the local products.
And on the President’s directive for the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission to consolidate all monies available in all empowerment funds and direct them towards helping SMES and in particular youth groups, women groups and those that have been hit the hardest, Dr Habazooka said this is that time when citizens will be sensitized about various funds available to them for businesses.
He said this move will create new businesses and add value.
“It’s up to businesses to ask their MPs for clarity on the availability of such monies. This is not money to misuse but should go into business ventures”, he said.