ZNFU PRESS STATEMENT ON THE SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA MR. RUPIAH B. BANDA DURING THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 24TH JUNE 2009 AT STATE HOUSE
The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) is delighted to learn that Agriculture has continued to be a priority sector on the agenda of the MMD Government. It is our desire that the continued placement of Agriculture as a priority sector is matched with deeds; therefore the Union welcomes the call by His Excellency that commits Government to work towards ensuring that Zambia achieves the goal of sustained increased agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness.
The Union is particularly pleased with the following policy directives and decisions:-
1. Establishment of the Private-Public Marketing Institution
The proposal to establish a Private Public Partnership Marketing Institution, in which the Zambia National Farmers’ Union, the Government and other stakeholders have been directed to work together to ensure that the long standing problems of marketing that have continued to haunt the industry are resolved is highly commended. The Union therefore stands ready to work closely with Government and ensure that the proposed marketing institution is established without undue delay.
2. Ban on Wheat Imports
The Union is extremely happy on the stance that the Head of State has taken to direct the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives once again; that no more imports for wheat should be allowed in the country as the country has excess stock in which over 60, 000MT of wheat remain unsold due to lack of market locally. It is therefore incumbent upon the Ministry of Agricultural and Cooperatives and other Government institutions concerned such as the Zambia Revenue Authority to take heed to the directive given by the President. No doubt this stance by the President would protect the wheat industry from collapse thereby protecting jobs and the much needed food security in the country. Currently the wheat subsector employs well over 8,500 people.
3. Livestock Disease Control – Creation of the Ministry of Livestock & Fisheries
Further the ZNFU is pleased by the bald step taken by the President to create a separate Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. The splitting of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in order to have a Ministry dedicated to livestock and fisheries matters was long overdue and for the ZNFU this is a dream come true. We therefore urge the new Ministry to put their acts together and quickly tackle the persistent problems of livestock diseases without any further delay. The ZNFU pledges to work closely with the new Ministry as a strategic partner to finding lasting solutions to problems affecting the livestock sector.
In conclusion, the ZNFU and the membership is happy with the policy directives outlined by the President and therefore the Union is calling upon the Ministries concerned to serious comprehend these directives get down to business and deliver to the farmers. The Union will remain a genuine partner to Government by continuously offering genuine and timely advice in order to achieve the goal of having a sustained agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness.