The Zambia Consumer Association is shocked that the Zambia National Farmers Union is offended with the availability of cheaper fresh commodities such as cabbages and tomatoes on the market.
Association Executive Secretary Juba Sakala says the desire of consumers is to have cheaper food on the market and it is unfair for the Union to push for higher food prices on the market.
Mr. Sakala has since commended the farmers who are supplying the fresh commodities on the market to continue as it is helping people to have access to nutritious food.
yesterday the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) expressed concern about over supplying and dumping of several fresh commodities, such as cabbages and tomatoes on the market.
ZNFU Public Relations Manager Kakoma Kaleyi said the dumping which is done by a few known farmers who are supplying the market with fresh commodities on a daily basis is causing a significant drop in commodity prices, resulting in many farmers producing at a loss.
Mr Kaleyi said that the over-supply of these fresh vegetables is part of the losses that is hurting the farmers, especially the small scale and emergent farmers, some of whom are contemplating to stop production altogether, adding that the Union is working with the Lusaka City Council and the Ministry of Local Government to formalize and operationalize structured fruits and vegetable markets, including a structured “Agents systems” at markets, which would see Agents get formal recognition as commodity handlers for farmers.
Mr Kaleyi urged farmers to continue producing and spreading their produce across all markets.
Mr Keleyi called on the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Local Government and the Council to take keen interest in the new development which is happening for the first time in the country.
“We urge these known farmers who are growing massive hectares of tomatoes to get into value addition as opposed to dumping their products at Soweto, Copperbelt and Kasumbalesa markets, We are calling on the farmers involved in this dumping to refrain from this vice as this is distorting the market and creating unfair competition,”Mr Kaleyi stated.
He explained that the dangers of what is going on is that the small-scale and emergent farmers will stop producing tomatoes which may result in the country importing tomatoes in an event that such commercial farmers encounter challenges such as diseases or calamity.
“We should take a leaf from the poultry industry where those with big volumes are in processing and those with smaller numbers are selling live birds. And hence our advice to these known farmers is to get into value addition as what they are doing will not be accepted anymore,” Mr Kaleyi noted.