Letter to the Editor

Agriculture is the answer

Dear editor,
I WRITE this in the hope that it will reach, apart from your good readers, the attention of your Ministers for Agriculture, Employment and Trade.
I have visited Zambia on a number of occasions over the last four years, in my capacity as chief executive officer of an educational charity helping young folk in your splendid country.
During every visit, I am amazed at the gigantic agricultural potential of the country and how it possesses the four main ingredients to realise such potential, namely; abundant labour and land, rich fertile soil, and plentiful water, be it rainfall, borehole or river supply.
Reading in one of your editions on the oversupply of tomatoes in city and roadside markets, last month, it struck me that a tomato pulping/canning plant would provide another market for tomato growers.
Remembering my having been born and brought up in Zambia and the fruits that I cut my teeth on, I thought of other fruits such as lychees that enjoy a wholesale world price of US$.6.25/kg and grow like weeds in the country.
Passion fruit, the third largest fruit export of Kenya, retailing at US$1.62 for three fruits. Mango pulp buying price of between US$1400.00 and US$1175.00 per tonne.
All three of the aforementioned fruits enjoy great demand in Europe, the USA, the Middle and Far East, as additives to fruit drinks, ice creams, juices and yoghurts. This is apart from the demand for the fresh fruit.
There are many other crops that can be successfully produced and exported on a large-scale in Zambia, avocado, guava, pecan and macadamia nuts, to name a few.
Why not encourage private enterprise to develop these markets? This can provide employment, industry and generate much-needed foreign exchange.
I am sure large international agribusiness would view the opportunity in a positive light. All the above can be grown by small- or large-scale farmers.
Agriculture is the answer.
DAVID HAWKINS
3 Wardleworth Way, Wellington. TA21 0BA, UK






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