WORLD Bank says Zambia should use its mineral wealth to diversify the economy into agriculture for the country to achieve broad-based growth.
World Bank country director for Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi Kundhavi Kadiresan said Zambia needs to learn from countries such as Chile, which is also a copper-producing country but has used proceeds from copper to develop the beef and wine industries.
“For Zambia’s economy to grow there is need to diversify from over-reliance on copper exports to agriculture, which has a huge growth potential. Chile is a copper-producing country like Zambia, used proceeds from copper to invest in new agricultural commodities such as beef, apples, grapes and wine for export,” she said.
Ms Kadiresan said while achieving sustainable, diversified and broad-based growth in the agriculture sector has been at the centre stage of Zambia’s development agenda, success can only be achieved if resources are directed to critical areas.
She said this on Friday when she officiated at the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Agricultural Science prize-giving ceremony aimed at awarding outstanding students.
Ms Kadiresan observed that public resources have for a long time been concentrated in the maize sub-sector at the expense of other potentially promising areas to accelerate agricultural growth particularly in rural areas.
She said the bank will, therefore, continue to assist Zambia in the development of agriculture, citing training and skills development as key areas it will support.
Ms Kadiresan also said the bank attaches importance to academic development and capacity needs as a means of improving agriculture in Zambia.
The bank is currently working with Government to support skills training for technical students and farmers.
Earlier dean in the UNZA School of Agricultural Science Micky Mwala appealed for the improvement of infrastructure.
Zambia Daily Mail