Kanchibiya Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament, Sunday Chanda, has submitted a private member’s motion urging government to formulate an agricultural policy to minimize the dependency on maize as the main staple food.
Chanda noted the need to urgently address the maize-centric and mono-crop “approach” amidst climate change and food insecurity.
The lawmaker spoke to Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Tuesday after presenting the private member’s motion.
“My argument is that our Agricultural Policy is so maize-centric instead of diversifying the staple food portfolio. Our Ministry of Agriculture is essentially a Ministry of maize,” he said.
Chanda said the Ministry of Agriculture was essentially a Ministry of Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), Food Reserve Agency (FRA), irrigation, fertilizers and that the focus about a mono-crop, which was maize.
He questioned what Zambians had been consuming before maize was brought by the British in the 1920s/30s for copper miners on the Copperbelt.
“When you check with countries like Nigeria, they have diversified the staple food portfolio, hence there is no single crop which becomes a “political crop,” Chanda said.
He noted that in Nigeria, most people live on a diet based on one or more of the staples such as rice, wheat, maize-corn, millet, sorghum, plaintain, roots and tubers-potatoes, cassava, yams and taro.
Chanda said the popular mealie meal brands like semovita, semolina, pounded yam, garri were combined varieties that could be used to cook nshima and not just maize meal.
“Climate Change is telling on us that it cannot be business as usual. Let us develop more than one nationally affordable and easily accessible staple foods,” he said.
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