THE split of the Ministry of Agriculture will help to focus on promoting the growth of the livestock sector and productivity in Zambia, National Union for Small Scale Farmers of Zambia director general Frank Kayula has said.
On Friday, President Edgar Lungu split the Ministry of Agriculture into Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
Mr Kayula said the split of the ministry into two and the shift of the Department of Cooperatives to the ministry of Commerce and Trade had met the desire of the small scale farmers in the country.
“Bravo to our Republican President for a magnanimous speech in Parliament. Uushitasha mwana wandoshi. Our President touched on many aspects that are affecting Zambia and many areas that may be solutions to our quagmire as a nation,” Mr Kayula said.
Mr Kayula said the split of the ministry would enhance growth among small scale farmers which crops, particularly maize, had failed to do.
“There is no business for small scale farmers in maize production and marketing and we are happy that President Lungu has split the ministry and we have a ministry that is going to dedicate itself to livestock and fisheries,” he said.
Mr Kayula said NUSFAZ had already started organising small scale farmers for irrigation which needed support for selected value adiction that could take advantage of mushrooming malls for markets.
He said the union had been calling for cooperatives to move into the Ministry of Commerce as a way of making their business focused, adding that cooperatives were diverse and could not be restricted to the agriculture sector.
“We know that the majority of the cooperatives are agriculture based, but this does not warrant their location in the ministry of agriculture,” Mr Kayula said.
He said the Ministry of Commerce must ensure that the cooperatives benefited from the plans and resources meant for SMEs. Mr Kayula said Zambia needed to commercialize cooperatives in order to enhance rural entrepreneurship and spur rural industrialization.
“The desire to commercialize cooperatives coupled with enhancing the spirit of saving will change the value of rural areas if rightly handled by the ministry of Commerce,” he said.
Mr Kayula applauded the formation of the Ministry of Planning and hopes that there would be a department for monitoring and evaluation.
He said this was the right time for President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) to institutionalize monitoring and evaluation of the various projects and Government functions in the same manner as the Auditor General monitors and evaluates expenditure.
Mr Kayula further called upon all politicians to stop politicking in everything and recognise that Zambia would not eat politics.
“Politicians should identify times for politics and times for consensus building on matters that affect the lives and well-being of Zambians,” he said.