The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has expressed optimism that the 2022 National Budget will address the high cost of production in the farming business.
ZNFU spokesperson Calvin Kaleyi said the union is calling on government to look into the burden of taxes and fees to farmers which are not compliant with the risk of farming business.
Mr Kaleyi stated that there is a lot of labour for local farmers to be competitive in their business.
Mr Kaleyi made the remarks after officials from ZNFU and Ministry of Finance and National Planning held a consultative meeting early this week.
He explained that during the meeting ZNFU Director Adam Gordon-Strong bemoaned the high cost of production and work needed to be done for a local farmer to remain competitive.
“Director Adam Gordon-Strong who chaired the meeting at the ZNFU showcased how administratively a farmer is burdened with taxes and fees which if he is not compliant, it risked the farming business. He further bemoaned the high cost of production and that work needed to be done in that area if local farmers are to be competitive,” he said.
Mr Kaleyi recollected that ZNFU President Jervis Zimba together with farmers from Mkushi and Chisamba also held a successful meeting with Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
He pointed out that during the meeting the Union presented the immediate issues requiring the Ministers’ attention including the Union’s 2022 National Budget submission.
Mr Kaleyi said the meeting was also used to highlight a fresh issue concerning loans obtained from the COVID-19 mitigating fund and the negative consequences of the kwacha appreciation which has resulted in the loans ballooning upwards in dollar terms because of the exchange rate impact.
“Other issues highlighted were the budget submissions and arising from this the Union met with the Technical Team from the Ministry of Finance handling consultations for the 2022 National Budget yesterday October 7, 2021,” he stressed.
He further pointed out that the Minister of Finance and National Planning made it clear that he was eager to consider solutions that involve private sector participation.
Mr Kaleyi told Zanis that Dr Musokotwane asked the union to submit detailed proposals on the future of FISP, the eradication of Livestock diseases including the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and how to resolve the mounting debt for farmers who borrowed from the COVID-19 fund.