Agriculture way to go – US envoy

UNITED States Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shcultz has lauded plans to diversify the Zambian economy by enhancing agriculture because of the potential the sector has in creating more jobs and attracting foreign direct investment into the country.
Mr Schultz said developing the agriculture is a welcome decision because the sector provides food, creates employment, attracts foreign investment and offers opportunities for economic growth through regional and international trade.
“Diversification could also spur the creation or rather re-creation of a food processing industry in Zambia, which would also help the country’s trade balance.
“Zambian farmers should also look at diversifying their production toward other higher-value commodities, to include honey, groundnuts, soya beans, vegetables and dairy.  All of these are also potential export products, which can help reduce the country’s reliance on copper as an export,” Mr Schultz said.
He also urged Government to stop involving itself in determining prices for agricultural products, and instead allow market forces to better determine the prices.
Mr Schultz said this will enable the agricultural sector to grow quickly and become a major exporter of foodstuffs.
“Capitalism, for all of its faults, has done a better job lifting people out of poverty than any other economic system.
Mr Schultz also commended Government for initiating an electronic voucher system pilot programme that is aimed at reforming the current input subsidy programme by increasing private sector engagement and promoting crop diversification.

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