Social Economist Kelvin Chisanga says investment in value addition on agricultural produce can give Zambian farmers and entrepreneurs vast opportunities for market access.
Mr Chisanga told the media in an interview hat limited value addition to commodities has led to reduced net returns to farmers.
He said the scenario has also contributed to denial of other multiplier benefits from further processing into higher value products and by products such as employment in processing among others.
The Local Social Economist noted the need to build capacity in product value addition adding that in the past some business ventures demonstrated the strength of value addition in increasing society’s returns and other benefits to the local economy.
“Exporting commodities in their row form means taking jobs outside the country, yet these are the much needed jobs the country requires,” he said.
He explained that agriculture has a lot of fundamentals to cushion the high unemployment levels in the country and the government should ensure adequate investment is taken to various parts of Zambia with unprecedented agriculture potential.
Mr. Chisanga affirmed that if successfully implemented, value addition will enhance the country’s industrialization agenda and economic recovery there by improving the livelihood of Zambians.
Meanwhile Buy Zed Founder Evans Ngoma affirmed the need for value addition saying now more than ever the country should exploit its resources by ensuring they are not sold in their row form.
Mr. Ngoma said this can be done through creation of a vibrant manufacturing base coupled with reasonable financing.
“We would like to see for once not to rely so much on imported goods such as vegetable oil whose prices skyrocketed due to its unavailability within our boundaries,” he observed.
Mr. Ngoma added that the government should make deliberate efforts to support entrepreneurs in order to develop the local value chain.
He scharged that with agriculture as a backbone of Zambia’s economic growth, the current government ensure that regions,
Have thriving agriculture industries that can enhance not only the country’s food security but also contribute to economic development, wealth and job creation.
He cited the need to have milling plants in all the ten provinces to reduce the cost of production for business entities.
And Mr. Ngoma has since expressed confidence that the UPND Alliance government will drive agricultural transformation across the country.