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Portugal eyes Zambian grains

KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
PORTUGAL is exploring possibilities of importing grains from Zambia following increased demand from that country.
Honorary consul for Portugal Eric Marques said this is as a result of recent increased maize and wheat production in Zambia.
However, Zambia anticipates reduced grain production this year due to the poor rain pattern experienced in the 2014/15 farming season.
“Zambia is becoming self-sufficient in maize and wheat production and my country is looking forward to importing these grains,” Mr Marques said in an interview on Friday.
Zambia has in the past recorded maize bumper harvests with the country recording 3.3 million tonnes of maize during the 2013/14 farming season, which was a 23 percent increase from the previous year, while wheat production stood at 338,000 tonnes during the 2013/14 season from 266,000 tonnes recorded the previous year.
Mr Marques said there is need for the two countries to accelerate trade and investment linkages.
He said although Zambia exports copper to that country, there is need to increase exports for various commodities to Portugal.
Mr Marques said currently, there are over 30 Portuguese investors in mining, agriculture, manufacturing and the road construction sectors in Zambia owing to the favourable business environment prevailing in the country.
He said the road between Luangwa Bridge and Chipata is being done by Portuguese investors.
“There are Portuguese investors in the production of asbestos while others are in the road sector…We have for a long time been supporting Zambia in various sectors and we want to accelerate this support,” he said.
He also pledged that country’s support to Zambia’s education sector, especially promotion of girl-child education.
“Our thrust is towards education of girls, especially now that Portugal has recovered from the economic crisis,” he said.

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