By ESTHER MSETEKA
ZAMBIA has great potential and capacity to feed the entire southern African region with Zambeef Products, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Swaziland Parliament Thulisile Dladla has said.
Ms Dladla said there is no doubt that Zambiaâ€™s agriculture sector is making a positive impact on the African continent.
She said the momentum of such positive development offered by Zambeef should be maintained to boost food security in Africa.
â€œSouth Africa has been feeding us, but Zambia can also feed the region. The African Union is trying to remove the economic boundaries that exist so that Zambia will be capable of feeding all of us.
â€œI love this project [Zambeef] very much because they have got many small-scale farmers who benefit from them. Zambeef has untold potential to feed the region, and that which we have seen here is one thing that we will try to emulate in our respective countries,â€ Ms Dladla said.
She said this when she led a group of 35 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentarians and clerks from the SADC public accounts committee which toured Zambeefâ€™s operations at Huntley Farm in Chisamba on Tuesday.
After inspecting the companyâ€™s feedlot, flour mill, cropping operations and dairy farm, she said the delegation was particularly impressed with Zambeefâ€™s value addition at every step of the value chain.
Ms Dladla said Zambeef is helping Zambia in empowering small-scale entrepreneurs and creating the much needed jobs.
Earlier, chairman of the public accounts committee of South Africa Parliament Hov Tooley said Zambia, to a large extent, is the breadbasket of Africa with an attractive investment base in agriculture.
â€œThe opportunities that we see here [Zambeef] today are quite incredible and I have seen something that you will definitely call a success story. From wheat to beef and dairy farming, there is definitely something that is very impressive about Zambeef,â€ he said
Mr Tooley said with the declaration of 2014 as the year of agriculture and food security in Africa by the AU should make member countriesÂ aim atÂ improving theirÂ farming methods by ensuring that they adapt to more efficient, effective and economical way farming.
â€œIf you do not support emerging farmers you are not going to have a stable and sustainable agriculture sector,â€ he said.
And Zambeef head of public relations and corporate affairs Felix Lupindula said the company will continue to expand its production capacity to meet growing demand.
Mr Lupindula said Zambia has abundant water resources for irrigation at about 40 percent in Central and Southern Africa and is capable of planting seed throughout the year.
â€œZambia is endowed with a large land resource base of 75 million hectares. Potential arable land covers less than half of the countryâ€™s total land, but only 15 percent of this is reportedly under cultivation,â€ he said.
By ESTHER MSETEKA