GOVERNMENT should work on feeder roads in rural areas to improve the transportation of agricultural produce and other products to the markets, Livingstone District Farmers Cooperatives Chairperson, Rwinick Mapanza has said.
Mr Mapanza said there was need for the Government to upgrade roads and other infrastructure as most farmers were living in rural areas and they needed good roads and markets.
He was speaking during the commemoration of International Co-operative Day in Livingstone on Saturday under the theme ‘Co-operative Enterprises Achieve Sustainable Development for all’.
“I want to commend co-operatives in Livingstone for performing well despite the many challenges that we face.
“I would like to appeal to Government to continue supporting you because most farmers are in rural areas and we need good roads and markets,” Mr Mapanza said.
He said farmers’ co-operative unions were key drivers of the country’s economy and hence it was important for the Government to continue helping them.
Mr Mapanza also appealed to the Department of Agriculture in Livingstone district to provide experts in fish farming to assist farmers who wanted to engage in fish farming.
He further appealed to the Veterinary department to work closely with the farmers to fight animal diseases.
Mr Mapanza also complained that despite the marketing season for maize being opened and the price being low, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the area had not yet started buying maize.
Speaking at the same meeting, Livingstone District Agriculture Coordinator (DACO) Richard Nambwalo said the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock promoted the strengthening of co-operatives for them to become conduits for social economic development.
In a speech read on his behalf by Livingstone District Veterinary officer Patricia Bwalya, Mr Nambwalo said the world had established that co-operatives could run as business enterprises in order to meet their demands and aspirations.
“Gone are the days when cooperatives were regarded as organisations for the poor inclined to the socialist concept, cooperatives have succeeded to exist in former socialist states, communist and capitalist states,” Mr Nambwalo said.
He said cooperatives uplift human dignity by providing training and education to members who in turn participate in the country’s economy.
Mr Nambwalo said the theme entailed that cooperatives played an important role to develop an economy of the country and that Zambia in the past years had seen an increase in the number of cooperatives being formed.
Times of Zambia