Farmers urged to improve productivity
Livingstone, Aug 22/14, ZANIS—-Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President, Evelyn Nguleka, has called on farmers in Livingstone and Kazungula Districts to improve their productivity to reduce their dependency on loans from local banks.
Dr Nguleka said the increase in the base rate at local banks had caused the lending rate to be high thereby disadvantaging farmers.
She urged farmers to mitigate the impact of high lending rates by exploring ways of enhancing productivity levels such as mechanising their farming methods.
“If we improve our efficiency, for the next two to three years and are able to make more money, we will not need to go back to the banks and borrow; instead, we will be able to lend money to each other. That is why we think mechanisation is an important aspect when we talk about increased productivity,” she said.
Dr Nguleka said this in Livingstone during the opening session of the Livingstone/Kazungula District Farmers’ Association Annual General Meeting at Limbo Lodge.
The ZNFU President also called on farmers to engage in crop diversification if they expected to make any profit from their efforts.
Dr Nguleka said farmers would do well to produce a variety of crops as opposed to maize alone and to focus on livestock production as well.
She said it was unacceptable for the country to continue importing products such as tomatoes, cabbages and pepper when farmers in the country were able to produce them in abundance.
“It is unacceptable that we should continue importing tomatoes, cabbages and pepper when farmers in the country are able to produce them in abundance. That is why we are working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to address the situation and ensure you get the market that you deserve,” she said.
Dr Nguleka also appealed to government to work on feeder roads as their deplorable state hindered farmers’ access to markets and various services meant to enhance their efficiency.
Meanwhile, Livingstone District Commissioner, Omar Munsanje, warned farmers in the two districts to be wary of fake associations that claimed to be affiliated to ZNFU.
Mr Munsanje said such associations were misleading farmers and benefiting from their membership without addressing their needs.
In a speech read for him by Livingstone District Administration Accountant, Lumpa Ilunga, Mr Munsanje pledged government’s commitment to work on feeder roads in the country to ease farmers’ access to markets.
He said government would continue working closely with ZNFU to ensure quality extension services were made available and accessible to the majority of small scale farmers.