Development Features

Agriculture holds key to stronger economy

By DEXTER NJUKA
LITTLE savings can make a big difference, and that’s what the law of compound effect dictates.
I am still amazed at how my mother manages to use less electricity and save money than most households I know.
Many people still throw away nshima even in the abundance of refrigerators, yet others stock left-overs for a local brew as an energy drink.
I find it hard to believe that my nephew doesn’t see the economic sense in saving for a bike to use for school instead of spending K20 every day on bus fares.
This he could achieve within one school term.
It would save him the time on traffic and enough money for other things like lotion and briefs.
And surely, how does one hire a housemaid while keeping a horde of dependants who wake up at about 11:00 hours in the morning only to eat, watch movies and stay on the phone the whole night?
They are better off hanging out at some studio to try their hands at acting and singing if at all these telephone companies can’t hire them in their customer service toll-free division.
The next time I get to talk to Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata I will remind her that her ministry is sitting on a gold mine. I know she appreciates advice.
Nollywood is described as one of the major contributors to Nigeria’s economy.
It has contributed to that country’s new status as one of the world’s six fastest growing economies.
Our music and movie industries are capable, if goodwill prevails, and coupled with the ministry’s support, of creating employment for countless youths.
Needless to mention that there is need to show zero tolerance on piracy. Piracy should be discouraged and condemned everywhere and considered as a cancer to the economy.
Was it not the movie actors from West Africa who recently visited Zambia who observed that the levels of piracy are too alarming in Zambia for this industry to grow?
What this Government is doing in terms of job creation such as infrastructure development and the emphasis on diversification in agriculture is progressive.
These efforts should be disseminated broadly to the citizens.
Zambians must be told and convinced that there will be trickle-down effects of the efforts.
They need to be told in a very plain way without using economic jargon on how things will change for the better.
This way they will ‘catch the fire’ and get involved.  There is need for the members of Parliament and also senior civil servants such as permanent secretaries and district commissioners to explain government’s economic agenda to the citizens.
Human capital cannot all be absorbed by government alone. There is need for the Ministry of Youth and Sport to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to encourage unemployed youths to go into agriculture and livestock farming.
Agriculture has the potential to help the nation build a strong economy.
It is saddening that some sections of the church can always be heard talking much about politics to serve their own interests.
Isn’t Zambia better placed democratically and socially than West African countries for us to waste our time on political quarrels at the expense of development?
Subsidies are retrogressive in the long run to an economy.
Who doesn’t know or feel the effects couponed maize meal left behind in the 1980s?
That time is long gone, but its economic shadow still lingers on.
We are indeed as a country on the right track to economic boom.
What is required is the involvement of every citizen.
This is our country, so let us develop it.
The author is a chaplain at a Christian school on the Copperbelt and a Journalism student.  Email: dexternjuka@yahoo.co.uk.

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