GOVERNMENT should come up with a clear policy on crop marketing that will effectively address challenges the country has experienced in the past, the Indaba Agriculture Policy Review Institute (IAPRI) has said.
IAPRI executive director, Chance Kabaghe said it was important that the Government had a clear and transparent policy on crop marketing that addressed various loopholes in the current system applicable for both local or export market and should consistent.
Mr Kabaghe, a former minister of Agriculture under the MMD, said it was equally important that policy decisions on agriculture awaited the crop survey which was normally conducted in May to introduce any new decisions.
“At that point, the minister should make key decisions on how crop marketing is going to be done this year. And when the food balance is announced, Government will be taking into
considerations the carry-overs of about 1.2 million tonnes with the Food Reserve Agency,” he said.
IAPRI felt that the status quo on crop marketing had various challengers and inconsistencies that required to be addressed.
“Our advice is that Government from day one should make it very clear that this is the way we are going to do maize marketing in the year. For instance two years ago and also part of this year, the ministers announced that we will allow exports,” he said.
He observed that Zambia’s maize was over-priced last year leading to reduced exports and called for a discount to make exports more competitive in the region.
He said a Grain Marketing Council (GMC) which his organisation had proposed for establishment was one initiative that could help address some of the challenges facing the crop marketing system in the country.
The GMC would from time-to-time meet with the minister of Agriculture and provide expert advice on crop management during each farming season.
Credit-JUDITH NAMUTOWE -Times of Zambia