Sunday, June 23, 2024

UPND Urged to Reverse Course on Soya Bean Purchase Decision, Concerns Mount Over Agriculture Sector’s Viability

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Brian Mundubile, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, has expressed concern over the agricultural policies being implemented by the UPND Administration, stating that they could lead to the collapse of the sector. Mundubile’s comments were prompted by the decision of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) not to purchase soya beans from farmers.

Mundubile pointed out that the UPND Administration had introduced the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) as an alternative to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) previously in place. The new program aimed to diversify the agricultural sector, which had been heavily reliant on maize production. President Hakainde Hichilema and Minister of Agriculture Mtolo Phiri had emphasized the importance of promoting other crops, including soya beans.

The opposition leader noted that President Hichilema had even announced an agreement with China to buy soya beans from Zambia, encouraging farmers to increase their production. Consequently, many farmers had invested significant efforts and resources into growing soya beans, expecting the FRA to provide a reliable market for their produce, just as they had done with maize.

However, Mundubile expressed shock at the FRA’s decision to back away from its responsibility, stating that it would have dire consequences for the agricultural sector. He argued that the motivation for farmers to diversify away from maize would be undermined if they were unable to find a stable market for their alternative crops. Moreover, with agriculture being the largest employer in Zambia, accounting for 70% of the population, the collapse of the sector would have far-reaching implications for both farmers and the wider economy.

Mundubile criticized the UPND Administration for its policy inconsistencies and sudden changes, citing the failures in input distribution and now the collapse of the marketing side of the value chain. He expressed disappointment in the government’s inability to provide a clear direction for the agriculture sector and questioned President Hichilema’s vision for its future.

“We were hoping that the UPND Administration, after their failure with input distribution, would focus on reviving the marketing of crops. Unfortunately, we see that they have now collapsed both aspects of the value chain. This is regrettable, and I am left wondering about President Hichilema’s understanding of where he wants to take the agriculture sector,” Mundubile remarked.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Something really has to be done regarding soya beans. Soya beans is a very high value crop, how is it the government can fail to find market for this? Why can’t the government also start processing cooking oil and stock feed which they themselves can sell locally or export to neighboring countries? When we talk of value addition the challenge is the capacity of many of us is limited because we do not have the means and approaching a bank is always a non starter because they never lend money so it is on the govt themselves to set up soya beans processing facilities to make cooking oil, soya chunks and feed plus many other products. Let’s us be proactive.

  2. Today l bought a water tank and tomorrow we are installing it.

    Will invite Bally to come and commission it, kaili alibe vochita

  3. Zambia’s agricultural marketing hasn’t development to the level where FRA can withdraw. The abrupt decision not to buy soyabeans has left many small scale farmers stranded and desperate. We don’t know in whose interest this decision has been made. It’ll be good for government to revisit this decision otherwise the consequences will be grave. It’s not a joke that many people are now stranded with soyabeans. The longer the government is taking to assure the farmers the more desperate the situation. It won’t make sense to announce their decision after farmers have already made desperate decisions. Please have empathy

    • Have you forgotten how farmers got into this mess? They were encouraged to grow soya and assured a market for it by the govt and FRA last year.

      I give you seed and say grow this, I’ll find market for you, you go and grow it then I say sorry I’m not buying it. You are not being genuine in your assessment.

  4. The Government should NOT reverse course and purchase the soya beans. If its a high value crop as @2020vision say it is, why don’t the growers and others market it and do the value added. You cannot expect government to do everything.
    Also, the government not buying it would not have dire consequences for the agriculture industry, the farmers just have to get smarter and know their market.
    I would like to remind you all that Zambia is broke.

    • @Ben have you forgotten how farmers got into this mess? They were encouraged to grow soya and assured a market for it by the govt and FRA last year.

      I give you seed and say grow this, I’ll find market for you, you go and grow it then I say sorry I’m not buying it. You are not being genuine in your assessment.

  5. Look, who is complaining. Private buyers are there. Take advantage of them. Let us spare FRA this year and probably next year on Soya Beans buying.

  6. Pf is diluted by MMD chancers. They can’t even go for the convention because of the confusion they have brought in our party. Hon Sampa, remember the story of the washerman’s donkey

  7. @2020 Vision, I hear you bro. Ben seems to be making comments from an ignorant position. The farmers that feed Zambia are in outlying areas with poor roads and unreliable transport. They climb anthills to make calls. They don’t have the capacity to store the produce longer as they can’t fumigate against pests. By July most of crop would’ve gone bad. This is the reality and yet someone makes such a comment?

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