Editor's Comment

Let’s preserve our food

MAIZE

EVERY year, tonnes of food in Zambia go to waste and when hunger sets in, we are quick to ask Government to “look into our plight” (boma iti yangane po).
This syndrome is partially responsible for some of the woes, like starvation and malnutrition that befall us as a country because we always think only Government is there to bail us out.
Of course, Government has the responsibility to do so but how long is that going to take? Once is enough to make us learn to do something right the next time.
We agree with the Food and Nutrition Commission on its call to Zambians to begin preserving and storing food for use when the chips are down.
Executive director Robinah Kwofie said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that preserving and storing food will help households become resilient to the effects of malnutrition.
The late coming of the rains last year sent some air of despair in the country over whether we would have a good harvest. On a yearly basis, there are reports of rural people asking for Government handouts because their harvest was affected by floods or poor rainfall.
Zambia should not be finding itself in dire need of food.
While some of the food that goes to waste is grown, the other grows in the wild.
For example, during the ‘mango season’, we have so much of the fruit that we do not know what to do with it. We have a number of vegetables which can be dried and stored for future use.
At the same time, we get a lot of mushroom from the wild and at the most, this is business that has been relegated to marketeers.
Let us see these as opportunities to beef up food stocks so that whatever food we have in excess, is processed and stored in suitable facilities where it will remain longer for later use.
In a country where we have abundant rains and our harvest is generally good, we should not even hear about malnutrition or hunger. The varieties of foods we have can stave off malnutrition.
But our major hindrance is that we lack the resilience to embark on storage of food. We are content to have the foods and when they are not there, we are the first people to complain of hunger and the worst hit are normally children who may end up getting malnutrition.
Let us take heed of Ms Kwofie’s message and wad off any signs of hunger in our communities and the country as a whole.
We have been talking of forming co-operatives as a way of contributing to economic growth. Here is an opportunity to do so.
Co-operatives, as business entities, can embark on food preservation projects and earn income for its members while contributing to food security.
We are convinced that such projects are also eligible to Government funding because by their nature, they seek to work alongside Government so that citizens and communities have enough food.

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