President Edgar Lungu says his critics must be ashamed because Zambia has produced a record 2.7 million tonnes of maize in the 2015/ 2016 farming season and recorded a net surplus of soya beans this year and that another bumper harvest was expected in the next farming season.
He has since thanked farmers for working hard to achieve the record that has made the country a food basket for the region.
President Lungu said the achievement was not an accident but a result of clear policy decisions the Government had made to restructure the input distribution mechanisms and the crop marketing exercise.
He attributed the success to the commitment of farmers and the good policies the Government had put in place for the agricultural sector. President Lungu said Government would continue to partner with farmers and that no amount of criticism would deter him from making the country a food basket of the region.
He said he would not leave food security to farmers alone, affirming that he would embrace the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) slogan which states; “Without farmers, there would be no food or a future”. President Lungu said this yesterday in Livingstone when he addressed the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) General Assembly. “I am delighted to inform you that Zambia is today the only country in the region that is a net surplus producer of maize and soya beans, truly making our country a food basket for the region. These achievements have come about because of a combination of factors, namely commitment and hard work our farmers put on one hand, and good policies my Government has put in place on the other hand,” he said.
Mr Lungu called on meaningful muti-stakeholder partnerships among Governments, international organisations, farmers, and the Civil society to work towards the same goals. The President said that the theme “Partnership for Growth” was timely as it resounded well as government had committed itself as a signatory in various meetings such as the fight against climate change.
He said last year presented a crucial and important year for the international community in its resolve towards the achievement of global sustainability.
He said Government was making positive strides in combating the effects of climate change by being a signatory to such various international commitments.
Mr Lungu said his critics who had continued to criticise him and wished the economy bad had been put to shame as the 2015 and 2016 farming season hit a record 2.7 metric tonnes of maize despite the difficult weather. ” For the first time in decades, basal dressing fertilizers were in the field by May. For the first time in decades, all farmers had been paid by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) by August for the first time. The feared transition to the E- Vouchers was introduced by my administration,”he said. And Zambia National Farmers Union president Evelyn Nguleka said that Zambia was honoured to host the World Farmers Union which has drawn all farmers representatives around the world regardless of whether they were small, medium or large scale farmers as they were all food producers.