Zambia’s economic development held down by over dependence on copper —Saasa


Oliver Saasa, an economist and academician, has urged government to promote diversification beyond maize.

Responding to a question during an Economic Review forum held in Kitwe on Wednesday night on Zambia’s dependence on copper, Saasa said the country’s leaders have hardly learnt from their experiences.

“This Dutch disease which is dependence syndrome on one thing has been with us since independence, and we seem not to learn, if you look at agriculture, more than 60 percent of support  goes to maize production, we need to end this dependence syndrome if we are to make the economy resilient,” he said.

Saasa said the country needed to invest in irrigation system using immense water resources for farmers to start producing all year round .

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He said livestock had not been taken serious as the government had continued subsidizing maize production at the expense of other high value agriculture production like livestock .

Saasa further stated that the country needed to be zoned so that regions start growing crops that were suitable with the ecological orientation.

“Farmers in Eastern province for example can concentrate on growing more groundnuts which can give them more value to be able to access mealie meal,” he said.

Saasa  observed that most Zambians who farm were less food secure than those in employment hence the need to invest in high value crops that could lift the people out of poverty.

Saasa  is currently Chancellor of Mulungushi University, a Professor of international economic relations and managing consultant at Premier Consult Limited domiciled in Lusaka.

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