Central Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Godfrey Chitambala says the government stands ready to support local investments that offer opportunities for local businesses to thrive.
Speaking when he commissioned the $USD150,000 bean cleaning and grading plant for Lake Agriculture Company in Chisamba District, Mr. Chitambala said the New Dawn government will continue to offer incentives and create an enabling environment for investors that offer opportunities for local businesses.
“As a government we are cognizant of the fact that we need to collaborate with different players within the economy, including the private sector, to do their part in accelerating development programmes in priority sectors of the economy including agriculture,” Mr. Chitambala said.
He commended the decision by Lake Agriculture and Musika to join hands in order to achieve a long term shared vision of improving farmer’s access to certified seed.
Mr. Chitambala said the investment by Lake Agriculture was timely as it answered to the many challenges faced by stallholder beans farmers.
“Under this intervention farmers will not only have access to certified bean seed and an assured market for their produce through a buy-back arrangement, but will also receive technical knowledge that will help them improve productivity in order for them to meet the growing demand for locally grown produce that meet the quality and quantity that the markets demand,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lake Agriculture Managing Director, Mike Jackson said his organisation through the Mbereshi bean production will open a new future for farmers in Zambia as it offers improved and better products for the changing environment.
Mr. Jackson said the Mbereshi beans production is a very big dive into diversification as most farmers in Zambia mainly have an opportunity to plant maize and soya beans.
“Dry bean is a huge staple food in Zambia. What we are doing is providing farmers with quality certified seed and an offtake market to ensure that farmers are guaranteed good prices and are able to sell the beans that they are able to harvest,” he said.
And Managing Director for Musika, Reuben Banda has observed that the investment by Lake Agriculture will unlock the potential of the bean value chain so that it can have a positive impact on the communities where farmers are found.
Mr. Banda said the bean crop being a legume is key in building more sustainable and climate resilient at household level.
“This is what we call a game changer because we know that our farmers have been affected by climate change, and climate change is here to stay so diversifying our agriculture definitely gives the farmer more options that will help in creating alternative incomes at household levels,” he said.
Mr. Banda said the support that Musika was providing to Lake Agriculture through the funding from Irish Aid is intended to increase the consumption of the diverse range of nutritious food among the poor Zambians.
“Zambia has a high burden of under nutrition in children under the age of five. Thousands of children and women suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition including low birth weight, wasting, stunting, under-weight and multiple micronutrients deficiencies and therefore educating farmers on the importance of consuming what they produce will be vital, “he said.