Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba on the problems facing agriculture :
"Zambia can reach self efficiency in all the crops that it grows, if marketing issues that the agriculture faces are well addressed. For instance, for the past two years, farmers have ensured the food security of the country by producing more than enough than the country needs....We have enormous potential as farmers to produce more but the high cost of production [is] killing the industry...We have such a high production cost and this is making us uncompetitive in the region... when we have maize to export, we are losing out because South Africa is beating us where prices are concerned...As a country, we even fail to export maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo because our prices are so high...South Africa, which has to transport its maize through Zimbabwe and Zambia, lands its maize in DRC at a much cheaper price than Zambia.So there you have it. All that we have said before.
Agriculture is a major source of employment and inflation goes down if the country has enough food...The setting of floor prices is disadvantaging farmers as it does not consider the production costs...This is one issue which we have raised time and again but which government has failed to adequately handle....government has been subsidising the crop that small scale farmers produce, but what happens to farmers who do not have access to such facilities...The crop marketing should therefore be liberalised so that farmers can sell their crop at profitable prices which in turn will further improve on production. We want to hear more from all stakeholders...unless problems in the crop marketing process are addressed, farmers may be discouraged from producing maize next year, as they might be worried of making losses....This has happened in previous years… when prices were bad, farmers abandoned the production of maize to grow other crops which offered better prices..."