Zambia’s Minister of Trade, Commerce and Industry, Chipoka Mulenga, says over 2 million acres of land has been set aside for farming blocks.
This, according to him, is in an effort to ensure that the country is self sufficient in grain production amid global challenges like climate change and geopolitical conflicts.
He noted that the prices of grain had gone up, blaming the rise on the forces of demand against supply.
Mulenga said during a panel session on ‘An Integrated Approach to Agricultural Production in Trade and Investment’ in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday that Zambia needed to make sure it produced enough grain for both local and the regional market hence the creation of the farming blocks.
He explained that these farming blocks would be turned into economic zones or export zones citing the special economic zones Zambia was undertaking jointly with Zimbabwe.
“To achieve this production of grain, wheat and other things we want to work in collaboration with the private sector as well as other stakeholders. Of the 3.5 million of maize that we produce on an annual basis 96 percent is done by the small scale farmers, only four percent is done by commercial farmers,” Mulunga said.
He spoke of going into mechanized farming systems such as irrigation and the need for affordable financing and technology to enhance agriculture productivity.
Mulenga highlighted the Zambian government policy direction in the agriculture sector and what it intended to achieve.
He also touched on regional collaborations for common agricultural policies.
In making her submission to the discussion, Export Development at African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Director, Oluranti Doherty, outlined the bank’s strategic interventions in agricultural trade and investment.
Doherty emphasised the bank’s focus on value-added agricultural products and the development of Special Economic Zones across Africa in collaboration with ARISE IIP and other partners.
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