By Mulimi Farmers Scheme – 2021

President Kaunda realized the wealth and potential that lies in agriculture hence his mantra, “Go back to the Land”. The slogan was meant to motivate people to engage in agriculture and not to only depend on formal employment in the cities.

One deliberate action that he engaged in to promote agriculture was the revitalizing of the Co-operative Societies in Zambia. These societies were seen as a strategic way of bringing more Africans into industry, commerce and non-subsistence farming. President Kaunda personally launched this post- independence co-operative movement and called on the unemployed to put their various skills to work on planned agricultural and construction projects.
He is quoted as saying, “The money is there and the know how…you can form these co-operative societies in Zambia and we shall assist you in getting on”.

As a result of this initiative, there was a rapid response to his appeal as in the first five months of 1965, there were over 1800 applications for registrations accompanied by requests for financial aid. His strategic effort to pump resources into the growth of these co-operatives shows that agriculture was at the heart of the late Republican President.

To attest to The President’s labors, Zambia Co-operatives Federation (ZCF) Director General, James Emmanuel Chirwa highlighted the immense contribution that President Kaunda effected.

Mr. Chirwa explained that ZCF was created by President Kaunda to oversee the development of co-operatives in Zambia. He notes that between 1975 to 1999, ZCF became the third largest employer in Zambia as it was involved in various trades including manufacturing and processing in the agricultural sector.

He encourages Zambian youths to take advantage of Co-operatives as well as venture into the agricultural sector as it is a lucrative mode of employment and contributes to our economy.

Stemming from the vision that President Kaunda had for agriculture co-operatives in Zambia, many other organizations have sprung up over the years to support co-operative initiatives.
One such organization is Agriterra, a Dutch based organization set up in Zambia in 2015. The organization was established to help co-operatives improve capacity of members in financing management and governance systems.

Agriterra Country Director Chabota Miyoba, who worked with the organization says the organization worked closely with Zambian co-operatives by encouraging co-operators to promote business to co-operatives through buying shares and providing a market for local farmers.

Mr. Miyoba said during it’s five year operations in Zambia, the organization worked with co-operatives whose members were all local farmers hence providing support and livelihood to the small scale farmers.

The Agriterra Country Director said co-operatives play a profound role in agriculture development as they not only provide marketing service by buying from farmers, they also allow farmers to have access to various seed types as well as opportunities to expand their land.

(Zambian History in Pictures)


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