KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Indaba Agricultural Policy and Research Institute (IAPRI) says Zambia needs policies that will encourage private sector investment in agricultural value chains to respond to changing food demand patterns in urban and rural areas.
IAPRI said Government needs to reduce excessive focus on maize and encourage diversification to other potential food production systems to enhance food and nutrition security.
This is contained in IAPRI’s working paper titled ‘Changing Food Expenditure Patterns and Trends in Zambia: Implications on Agricultural Policies’ availed to the Daily Mail.
The institute suggests that cash products such as rice, potatoes, wheat, livestock and fish should be prioritised by farmers to meet the growing food demand in the country due to the rapid population growth.
“There have been major declines in the expenditure shares of grains such as millet and sorghum, and also tubers like cassava and sweet potatoes in both rural and urban areas.
“Government needs to reduce its excessive focus on maize and encourage diversification in food production systems that will include the production of horticultural products, rice, potatoes and wheat as well as animal production and fish,” IAPRI said.
The institute said as a net importer of fish, Zambia needs to strengthen the local production capacity of the commodity to reduce the deficit through aquaculture development.
IAPRI has also called on Government to strengthen the urban-rural linkages and resolve the marketing constraints that impede rural producers to increase productivity.