By IREEN MULENGA
The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says the country will risk over K23 million worth of onions going to waste if the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) continued the authorization and importation of onions and potatoes into the country.
Zambia National Farmers’ Union President Jervis Zimba said that they have always engaged the MoA over the issue of importation of commodities that can be grown within the country like onions and potatoes.
“We are saddened that we have not had a favorable response on this matter as importation of onions
has continued unabated. As a result, we risk having over K23 million worth of onions going to waste if the matter remains unaddressed,” he said.
Mr Zumba said the Minister of Agriculture must clearly state whether he would like to see the country continue being a net importer of commodities that we can readily produce as a country.
He said discussions were held together with written communication but there has been no action taken.
Mr Zimba said that President Hakainde Hichilema has emphasized the need to grow the country’s economy through agriculture, value addition and diversification, which in turn should create jobs.
Mr Zimba also appealed to President Hichilema to intervene in this matter before farmers lose out.
He said the local strides being made to grow agriculture products locally should be nurtured and not frustrated by needless imports.
“The Head of State is on the record saying the country is inviting investors to invest in Zambia’s agriculture sector. It will be unfortunate that when the investors come to conduct a due diligence, they will find these challenges facing them. There is serious need for mindset change in the Civil Service over the whole issue of imports to protect the interest of local farmers,” he said.