Foreign agro products good for competition

CASUSAL workers stacking up sacks of Irish Potatoes for transportation to Lusaka. The Potatoes are imported from Tanzania. PICTURE: BRIAN MALAMA.

THE opening up of the agro-based market to foreign products has resulted in local agro processing companies increasing their competiveness, which has in turn improved the quality of products, Lunte  member of Parliament Felix Mutati (left) has said.
Mr Mutati, who is also former Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, said competition is important if local firms are to grow their businesses and produce quality products, citing Zambeef Products Plc and Parmalat Zambia Limited as some of the local agro-processing firms that are competing favourably with imported agro-products in the country.
“Years ago, there were cries that if the market is opened up, companies would go down but competitiveness and pressure has seen companies like Zambeef growing tenfold while Parmalat has also recorded growth over the years. The companies have improved their quality and packaging,” he said.
Mr Mutati said eliminating trade barriers remains critical in assuring quality of goods and services in the country.
He said recently that Zambia needs to claim its space on the market by ensuring that its products are competitive as the country aspires to position itself as a manufacturing hub.
“Quality is undermined, the more we erect trade barriers the more important it is to open up the market so that there is competition. This puts businesses under pressure and that in turn makes them to grow their businesses,” he said.

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