ZCF says it’s equal to development task

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

THE Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) says it is equal to the task of contributing to the development of the nation as stated by President Lungu on Friday during his address to Parliament.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, ZCF executive director James Chirwa said the organisation has since begun mobilising itself in readiness to be a business vehicle that will spur economic growth.
Mr Chirwa said ZCF will not let down President Lungu but will do its best to turn around the economy of Zambia.
“As ZCF, we are extremely excited that President Lungu understands what it takes to empower people. As rightly put by the President, co-operatives are not just about agriculture. There is more to it,” he said.
Mr Chirwa said President Lungu’s challenge to ZCF is a wake-up call for the federation to up its efforts in contributing to development.
He said ZCF has since started sensitising its members so that next year it can participate in the maize marketing season and consequently become the principal buyer of the staple food in a bid to help Government save money spent on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
“As a federation, we are concerned with the financial pressure that we exert on the state. We are suffocating the treasury. Co-operatives are sleeping and so we have decided to get involved,” Mr Chirwa said.
Mr Chirwa said the co-operative movement will participate in maize marketing and sell the commodity to the same market Government is selling to.
“We want to take the leadership role of being the strategic reserves for the nation. We did it in 1987, 1988 and 1989. We performed this function,” he said.
Mr Chirwa said maize as a commodity is money in itself and small-scale farmers can queue up to sell it to the co-operatives in the same way they queue up to receive fertiliser under the farmer input support programme.

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