Farmers Concerned with the continued importation of Onions and Potatoes, Agric Minister not Listening

Jervis Zimba
Jervis Zimba

The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has said that is deeply disturbed by the continued authorization by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of importation of onions and potatoes into the country even when Zambia has this commodity in abundance.

In a statement released to the media by ZNFU president, Jervis Zimba, ZNFU said that the organization has always engaged the MoA over the issue of importation of commodities that can be grown within the country, and onions and potatoes are some of the products.

Mr. Zimba said that his organization is saddened that it has not had a favourable response on this matter as the importation of onions has continued unabated and as a result, Zambia risk having over K23 million worth of onions going to waste if the matter remains unaddressed.

Mr. Zimba said that the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Mtolo Phiri, must clearly state whether he would like to see the country continue being a net importer of commodities that Zambia can readily produce, as his organization feels that the Minister is not listening to the industry and that Discussions were held together with written communication but there has been no action taken and no response to his organisation’s letter.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema has emphasized the need to grow the country’s economy through agriculture, value addition, and diversification, which in turn should create jobs. How do we as a nation hope to achieve this with the kind of attitude being exuded at the Ministry of Agriculture?

“We, therefore, appeal to His Excellency President Hichilema to intervene in this matter before farmers
lose out. The local strides being made to grow agriculture products locally should be nurtured and not frustrated by needless imports.

“The Head of State is on the record saying the country is inviting investors to invest in Zambia’s
agriculture sector. It will be unfortunate that when the investors come to conduct due diligence, they will find these challenges facing them.

“There is a serious need for a mindset change in the Civil Service over the whole issue of imports to protect the interest of local farmers. Currently, we feel farmers are vulnerable as they are not protected and there is little recognition attached to farming locally. We invite the Minister of Agriculture to immediately come to the farms to check the huge volumes of onions and potatoes being held in storage,” concluded the statement


  1. The government is OK for not listening to your clap. Zambia is in SADC and Comesa so they can’t just abruptly ban the import what if other countries retaliate to ban our export also,

  2. What the current GRZ need are right individuals in right places. Take Mrs Scott to that ministry and we shall see improvements.

  3. It’s the price we have to pay for allowing ourselves to be dominated by South Africa. Zambian farmers can’t fight this battle alone. They require the support of consumers. Next time we go to the ballot let’s not vote for somebody who tells us that he’ll fix things without giving us a detailed plan of how he’ll do it. It’s about time the National Farmers’ Union began to establish its own shops. SA Chain Stores can’t stock what they can’t sell. Besides I heard that the price they offer for local products isn’t attractive. Don’t always cry to politicians because the most inconsistent fellow is one occupying political office

  4. From what the shops say…………

    Zambian farmers are consistent with supply and quality………..

    This is where GRZ and that same farmers Union needs to do work on……..

  5. Last time they banned the importation of such commodities here in Zambia,these same local farmers started misbehaving by creating artificial shortages leading to the exponential increase of those commodities and good example is buyabamba whose 7kg sack of potatoes was almost K200.

  6. ZNFU if there are so many onions and potatoes going to waste then how come the prices are so high? Stop fooling the government. Come our with fixed prices of your produce then talk of supporting local agriculture. Last year onions were banned a 10kg pocket shot up from K80 to K250. Potatoes were banned they shot up from K80 to K150. We don’t want to go through that scenario again.

  7. It is unfortunate that Farmers find in these situation. The international agreements they sign with other countries are not helpful to the 18 million population of Zambia of 15% are employed although the majority of 15% are under employed. So farming is the way forward to help people come out of poverty. But South Africa will continue dumping everything in Zambia which will hurt farmers. Because we Zambians we not nolike Tanzanians . In Tanzania the Swahili boycotted Shop rite store. In 6 months they closed and went back to South Africa. But as we are so dumb we accept everything from a person who look like a white man. It is not the government to stop the inflow of goods, it’s the people to boycott those goods. People are allowed to sell in streets take your goods near shopping malls…

  8. What you need is development of the cold chain for those commodities so as to have reserves that can be strategically released to moderate shortages and prices as appropriate. That is why SA exporters are unbeatble in this arena.


  10. I don’t want local potatoes and onions: they are inferior quality and they’re consistently more expensive. Don’t only look after the farmers, how about looking after ordinary consumers.

  11. Here in South Africa, South Africans aren’t xenophobic towards people only, they are xenophobic towards foreign Music, Foreign food, foreign drinks, literally jst anything foreign. So I get surprised with some Congolese Zambians above saying Zambian onion are inferior. Well Tate/Amati, here South Africans don’t care if the product is Inferior or not-it’s jst gotta be South African and they ll buy it.

  12. Sometime last year government listened to the farmers plea, but soon after banning potato and onion imports what did our farmers do. Instead of increasing production they increased prices. Onion price increased from K50-K75 to K250-K300 per 10 kg. Let them be sincere and help government that betraying the good faith.

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