Agri-business Business

Help form co-operatives, State urged

SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
THE Cross-border Traders Association (CBTA) has urged Government to help cross-border traders in forming co-operatives that will be producing fruits and vegetables for export.
And the association has hailed Government for stabilising the Kwacha in the last one month.
The association’s president Simon Chande said there is a growing demand for fruits and vegetables from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mr Chande said many cross-border traders from neighbouring countries come to Zambia to buy the mangoes and vegetables that are produced by the local famers.
He said if traders can form co-operatives, they would earn income for the sustainability of their families.
Mr Chande said even the strength of the kwacha mainly depends on exports and if locals can produce goods that are required by the international market, then the economic situation of the country can greatly improve.
“We must reduce over dependence on copper as there are other sectors that can be economic drivers such as agriculture and tourism,” he said.
President Lungu said in November, that government wanted co-operatives to play a bigger role in the development of the agricultural sector to give diversification more impetus.
Meanwhile, the association has hailed Government for stabilising the Kwacha in the last one month.
Mr Chande said the stability of the Kwacha is important to any cross-border trader as it gives them a chance to plan and monitor their business.
“Traders have a clear picture of where they are heading to unlike when the exchange rates would change two to three times in a day,” he said.
Mr Chande said although most people say the Kwacha is not doing fine against other convertible currencies, it is better than other currencies in southern Africa.
“Our Kwacha is doing fine although our profit mark-up is very little. We are better than most of our neighbouring countries’ currencies,” he said.

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