By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says that Shoprite is simply ignoring Local Onion producers as the country is awash with onions from both small scale and some large-scale farmers.
ZNFU Public Relations Manage Kakoma Kaleyi said some onions have gone to waste in storage facilities due to continued importation of the commodity even when Government has ordered a stop to onion importation.
Mr Kaleyi was reacting to the attribution by Shoprite Country Manger who has alleged countrywide shortages of onions on the Local Market.
“We are saddened to report that data shows that onion imports peaked in the period January to March 2022, hence disadvantaging local producers who have painstakingly put in a lot of effort and strides, including making staggering investments in driers, which allows for onions to be harvested during late winter then dried, stored, and made available during the lean period which starts in January every year,” he said.
He said the continued importation of commodities that has a comparative advantage of is equal to economic sabotage and is weighing down all the good intentions being put in place by Government and farmers to ensure improved capacities.
Mr Kaleyi said the ZNFU shall not sit back and watch entities bent on proliferating imports arm-twist Government into succumbing to notions that the country is experiencing commodity shortages.
“We rise to applaud Government for regulating imports of onions because this is the trajectory that will make various sub-sectors of the agriculture sector become net producers of commodities that can produce locally. Zambia has plenty onions,” he said.