‘Zambia can feed itself’

ESAFF has also praised President Levy Mwanawasa’s government for increasing fertiliser subsidies up to 60 percent in readiness for this year’s planting season.

“It is time for Zambia, as a sovereign state with plenty of natural resources, to achieve more than its national food requirements by achieving household food security through increased production,” ESAFF spokesperson Simon Mwamba said.

He added that farmers welcomed the pledge made by the newly appointed Agriculture Minister, Ben Kapita, that he would increase the agriculture allocation to 10 percent in the national budget.

He said this would be in accordance with the Maputo Declaration to which Zambia is a signatory.

Under the declaration, states pledged to increase the agriculture vote in their individual national budgets to 10 percent by the year 2010.

Mwamba said since small-scale farmers are the main producers of staple food, there is need for them to be involved in policy-making at every turn.

“We demand for small-scale-farmers’ participation in the formulation, implementation and monitoring process for resources allocated to the agricultural sector. From the time Zambia got her independence, small-scale farmers have been sidelined in decision-making processes on issues that affect us,” he said. He said any money to be allocated to the sector in future should mostly benefit the small-scale farmers.

He pointed out the need to enhance small-scale farm productivity through infrastructure development, such as feeder roads, satellite depots, bridge construction/rehabilitation and provision of power (solar and hydro).

November 2006
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