NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
AN investor perception survey has revealed that Zambia has huge potential for investment in the agriculture sector because only 14 percent of the countryâ€™s total land area is being used for agricultural production.
The survey says Zambia has potential to expand investment in the agriculture sector given the vast resource endowment in terms of land [arable, fertile, virgin land], labour and water that the country possesses.
This is according to the 2016 foreign private investment and investor perception survey in Zambia conducted by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Central Statistical Office (CSO) and Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
â€œOf Zambiaâ€™s total land area of 75 million hectares, [752, 000 square Km], 58 percent [42 million hectares] is classified as medium to high potential for agricultural production, with rainfall ranging between 800mm to 1,400mm annually, and suitable for the production of a broad range of crops, fish, and livestock,â€ the survey has revealed.
However, it is estimated that only 14 percent of agricultural land is currently being utilised.
The survey says Zambia has the best surface and underground water resources in Africa, with many rivers, lakes, and dams, accounting for 45 percent of the total water resources of the southern African region.
It says this, with the high potential underground water aquifers in many areas, offers excellent prospects for supplying water for irrigation, home and industrial use.
The survey, however, says these water bodies are largely unexploited, and that, of the countryâ€™s irrigation potential conservatively estimated at 423,000 hectares, only about 50,000 hectares are currently irrigated.
Additionally, the survey says Zambia has a resource endowment suitable for investment opportunities in a wide range of crops, livestock, and fish for export given the diversity of its agro-ecological zones.
NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka