FORMER Copperbelt Show Society chairman Bill Osborn says investment in the agriculture sector should target at increasing production through land clearing and programmes like the Farmer Input Support (FISP) because they enhance the ability of small scale and peasant farmers to increase their yield.
Mr Osborn said the prospects of the agriculture looked good but it was important that Government’s investment in the sector was targeted at increasing production to alleviate poverty and promote food security.
In an interview in Kitwe yesterday, Mr Osborn said that Government should also expand the programmes such as FISP because small scale and peasant farmers needed such investment from Government.
“The agriculture sector looks good, I mean the prospects in the agriculture sector are still looking good, but it is still essential that investment is sought. The investment must be targeted at increasing production through land clearing and irrigation.
“Programmes like FISP should continue because they aim at encouraging small-scale and peasant farmers to increase their yield. I think a well-developed agriculture sector can contribute to poverty alleviation and food security. It can also contribute to employment creation,” said Mr Osborn.
He said with the fluctuating copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME), it would be a wise decision for the Government to invest in other sectors like agriculture and tourism.
He said although the mining sector still looked positive, Government should seriously start examining the potential of other sectors of the economy, especially with the challenges facing the mining sector where a lot of miners were retrenched recently.
He however said that it was good that the existing mines were still investing and developing despite the challenges facing the sector.
“The economy seems to be slowly picking up. In the mining sector, it is slowly picking up because the copper price is slowly picking up. The outlook of the mining sector still looks positive because investors are still investing in the sector,” he said
He also said the tourism sector was growing, but that its potential was yet to be fully exploited; saying Government should work hard by marketing Zambia’s potential to the outside world.