Millers body hails Govt agro policies

Mealie Meal
THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) says the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has made positive strides towards implementing sustainable agricultural reforms for the growth of the sector.

MAZ president Allan Sakala said the timely payment of farmers supplying maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and delivery of farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) were some of the achievements attained by the PF in the last two years.
“Overall, they (PF Government) have performed well looking at the agriculture reform programmes being implemented. This has also helped keep the prices of agriculture inputs and produce stable,” he said.
Mr Sakala, however, bemoaned the continued late entry of the FRA into the annual crop marketing season, saying Government should find measures to address the problem.
Meanwhile the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has said Government’s policies in the last two years have not mitigated the escalating cost of living among ordinary Zambians.
Assessing the PF administration’s performance in the first two years of office, ZACA executive director Muyunda Illilonga said in an interview yesterday that Government had not done enough to make the cost of living among Zambians affordable.
He cited the removal of the subsidies on maize and fuel as among policies that have adversely affected the poor people in the country.
“From the consumer’s point of view, the removal of maize and fuel subsidies has caused a rise in commodity prices and the cost of living for the ordinary Zambian has gone up making it hard for people to afford a decent livelihood.
“So Government should come up with economic-based strategies such as reducing consumer Value Added Tax (VAT) from 16 to 10 per cent in the 2014 national Budget so that consumers can live an affordable livelihood,” he said.
Mr Illilonga, however, commended as progressive the quest by Government to improve the quality of road and rail infrastructure because they were essential to the country’s economic development.