There is need for appropriate policies that will ignite the exploitation of the agriculture sector through cropping, livestock and fisheries in the country, says former Agriculture minister in the MMD Government, Eustakio Kazonga.
He said for the exploitation to happen, there was need to allocate appropriate resources for extension, research, staff development, irrigation, dam construction, deep tanks, disease prevention and control and mechanisation.
Dr. Kazonga however said crop diversification needed to be strengthened if Zambia was to become a regional food basket.
He said the current policies in agriculture and its sub-sectors could be improved in order to respond to the current challenges in the sector.
The former minister however noted that despite the country having good policies, it lacked implementation because some of the policies have been overtaken by events.
Dr. Kazonga observed that the cost of production of crops was very high and this had an impact on the price of mealie meal and export price.
Speaking during the third Agri-tech Zambia Expo in Chisamba on Saturday, President Lungu reiterated his desire for Zambia to become a regional food basket through good policies. He also said Government intended to reduce the country’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture through the promotion of irrigation due to the changing weather patterns. President Edgar Lungu said he was committed to making Zambia the food basket of the region and that the country was poised to achieve the goal given the abundant resources it possessed. Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said Zambia will this year produce about 2 million metric tonnes of maize which is enough to meet the national food consumption.