‘Regulate importation of fruits, veggies’

FARMERS have called on Government to regulate importation of fruits and vegetables that can be produced locally to safeguard the growth of this sub-sector.
According to Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) Friday brief availed to the Daily Mail on Monday, this came to light during the union’s fruits and vegetables commodity committee meeting last week.
The union says fruits and vegetables remain widely grown by many farmers in Zambia as they offer a regular and additional source of income to households.
“We are calling on Government to regulate importation of fruits and vegetables that can be produced locally such as potatoes, onions, bananas and oranges to safeguard the growth of this subsector,” the statement reads.
The union, however, says farmers are dismayed at the rate at which some of the fruits and vegetables are being imported by some chain stores.
ZNFU also said the importation of unwashed potatoes through the Nakonde border further possess a serious sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) risk to Zambia.
The union has therefore called on Government through the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute to remain vigilant and subject importation of Irish potatoes to SPS measures as they cause a serious threat to commodities like tomatoes, tobacco and Zambian grown Irish potatoes that are prone to diseases and viruses.
Meanwhile, the Agricultural Consultative Forum has formed a beef association in Namwala to address challenges faced by farmers.
The committee will be reporting to Namwala District Farmers’ Association.
ZNFU says some of the issues the committee will be addressing are the controversial cattle levies and beef pricing.
Other issues are mobilizing beef producers to address the different challenges beef producers are experiencing, as well as coming up with policies that will favour the increment in beef processors.

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