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Rural-based agro-processing plants vital – ZDA

THE Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) says there is need to establish rural-based agro-processing plants if the country is to meet the growing demand for fertiliser.
According to the ZDA sector profile on agriculture, Zambia needs to exploit untapped various agricultural minerals.
The agency says the establishment of agro-processing plants in rural areas is vital if the country is to increase agricultural productivity through increased manufacturing of agro-chemicals such as fertiliser.
“The processing of minerals for the agro-industry is another area in which demand is fast growing in Zambia.
“This calls for the establishment of the of rural-based processing plants in areas such as Petauke, Mumbwa Nkombwe, Isoka and Kaluwe near Luangwa, as this would contribute to the realisation of food security, increase agricultural productivity and improved quality of life for the people,” ZDA says.
Currently, Zambia imports fertiliser worth US$200 million annually to subsidise small-scale farmers in rural areas.
ZDA says Zambia is also endowed with mineral deposits for the production of other chemical products such as cement, adhesives and explosives.
Other chemical products include manganese for batteries, argon gas, sulphuric acid, paints, cosmetics, soaps and detergents.
ZDA noted that the processing  of  grocery  products  such  as  cold  meats,  biscuits,  tinned  foods,  jam  and cheese also remains  unexploited.
The agency also cites crops such as paprika as crops which can be exported and earn the country foreign exchange.