Agri-business Business

‘Find alternative agro-commodity strategies’

KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
CENTRE for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says Zambia should find alternative marketing strategies for agricultural commodities if the industry is to grow.
CTPD programmes officer Isaac Mwaipopo said during a meeting themed as, ‘Towards alternative agriculture commodity marketing systems’ that there is need to change how the country markets its produce.
Mr Mwaipopo said Government should encourage the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to cut on transportation costs and consider buying maize and other crops from the Zambia Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) platform.
“We believe ZAMACE is one of the solutions to a number of challenges faced by our farmers when it comes to selling their produce. This platform should be supported by all stakeholders since it will offer an alternative approach to market the crops thereby, increasing incomes for farmers who will have a say when it comes to prices,” he said.
Zambia National Farmers’ Union economist Humphrey Katotoka said developing alternative marketing strategies should also include reviewing implementation of the farmer input support programme that is only restricted to two companies that supply inputs to smallholder farmers.
Southern Africa Cross Border Traders Association coordinator Jacob Makambwe said farmers are facing a number of challenges.
“Our agricultural marketing system has a single approach so there is need to have other alternatives to enable traders and farmers realise meaningful incomes,” he said.
Earlier, ZAMACE executive director Jacob Mwale said the trading platform is offering investment opportunities for people who can invest in storage sites and farmers will who find a ready market.
“All other channels in the market will still be there but ZAMACE is bringing alternative solutions by offering services such a warehouse receipt that can be used as a cheque to can be redeemed at the bank,” he said.

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