New Dawn Government’s decision to allocate 20,000 hectares of land for maize farming to Kenyan farmers has come under fire from GPZ President, Silavwe Jackson. In a press statement released on March 14, 2023, Jackson accused the Hakainde Hichilema administration of being reckless and unpatriotic.
Jackson described the move as a betrayal to the Zambian people, adding that the New Dawn Government was grossly out of touch with local economic realities on the ground. He further stated that the decision to give the land to Kenyan farmers was equivalent to replicating the structure of the mining sector in the agriculture sector.
Instead, Jackson urged the government to empower and give the farm block to young Zambians who could in turn grow the maize for the Kenyan market. This, he said, would create massive employment opportunities and keep money within Zambia.
Alternatively, Jackson suggested that the 20,000 hectares farm block could be given to the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to farm for exports, not only to Kenya but also to the larger African market. This, he said, would bring in foreign exchange and create employment opportunities.
Another option presented by Jackson was for the New Dawn Government to secure the Kenyan maize market on behalf of mobilized Zambian farmers to service the market directly. This strategic move, he said, would still create employment, bring in foreign exchange and expand capacity for local farmers.
Finally, Jackson suggested that the New Dawn Government could court Kenyan farmers to finance a strategic collaboration or joint venture with Zambian farmers. This joint venture would benefit the local economy and achieve food security for Kenya while still supporting Zambian farmers.
In conclusion, Jackson urged the Hichilema administration not to go ahead with the allocation of land to Kenyan farmers. Instead, he called on the government to spin the deal in favour of indigenous local farmers while meeting the objective of helping Kenyan farmers.
The statement was issued on behalf of the GPZ party and signed by Silavwe Jackson, President of GPZ.