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KRI Zambia urges increased socio-economic decisions in agriculture sector Home / KRI Zambia urges increased socio-economic decisions in agriculture sector

KRI Zambia urges increased socio-economic decisions in agriculture sector

KRI ZAMBIA chief executive officer Frank Kayula says there is need to reduce political decisions and increase on socio-economic decisions in the agriculture sector.

In a presentation, during the 2019 agriculture symposium, on enhancing productivity among small-scale farmers, Dr Kayula said there was need to also improve access to finance by innovative ways like savings and investment.

He called for organising farmers for input and output aggregation for markets and improve quantity and quality of access of farmers to input through groups.

Dr Kayula said focus should be on improving productivity among the small-scale farmers like organic farming.
He said Zambia had 75 million hectares of which 42 million (58 per cent) was suitable for agriculture.
Dr Kayula said 200,000 hectarees was under irrigation.

He said there were 2.2 million farmers.

Dr Kayula noted that there was an unpredictable export policy for staple crop.

He said there was also the dual land tenure system where only one assures access to investment finance.

Dr Kayula said the majority population was impacted directly by agriculture and it was prudent to seriously invest where the majority of the population is engaged.

He said it was important to plan for low agricultural production contribution to gross doemestic product (GDP), but high contribution by agribusiness sector as in developed countries.

Dr Kayula said there was need to improve value chain and value addition.

He said the Zambian agriculture emphasis had been on production and a bit on marketing.

“Research is a by the way issue while (poorly organised) input subsector just drives production. Processing is being stifled despite pronunciation, services are largely neglected,” he said.

Dr Kayula said small-scale farmers were net buyers of what they produce and made a very small margin.
He said the overall majority of small-scale farmers gain less than K5,000 per year.

Dr Kayula said since most of the farmers were dependent on rain, they were highly vulnerable to climate change.

He said farming was also looked at as something for old people where 52 per cent were over 46 years old and 40 per cent were between 30-45.

He said barriers crippling the agriculture sector include limited coordination of research and development, insufficient utilization of inputs and mechanization, limited reach of extension to boost on-farm production, poorly organized post-harvest aggregation and transport, inconsistent capacity for effective value addition and poorly developed market linkages and trade corridors.

Dr Kayula named others as insufficient transport, energy, water, waste management and other hard infrastructure, leading to uncompetitive cost structures and undeveloped soft infrastructure including aging smallholder farmers and a lack of skills for commercial agriculture and agro-allied industries.

He said there was also limited access to agricultural finance where there was high service cost due to small deal sizes, lack of credit data, and low capacity in agricultural lending, limited market attractiveness relative to perceived higher returns outside of the agriculture sector, unfavourable market access and incentives limiting trade and capacity to produce high-quality products, ineffective sector regulation creating long lead times for new technologies and inconsistent trade policies and unsupportive business enabling environment restricting land tenure and general ease of doing business.

Dr Kayula said there was also insufficient inclusivity of women and youth in agricultural development, limited incentives to ensure sustainability and climate-resilient practices and limited access and affordability of commodities with high nutrition levels.

He said there was need to improve access to finance for investment, access to banks and local savings for investment, structured markets and establish quality standards to create demand of quality products.

KRI Zambia is a private sector institution that promotes research innovation methods for farmers and SMEs.

Story by Masuzyo Chakwe

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