Mundubile Urges UPND To Rescind Position On Soya Beans, Fears Agric Sector Might Collapse



Lusaka, Tuesday (June 6, 2023)

Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile says all policies the UPND Administration is coming up with are meant to collapse the agriculture sector as can be seen by the Food Reserve Agency’s (FRA) resolve not buying soya beans from farmers.

Mr. Mundubile said the UPND came in with a new policy away from the Farmer Input Support Programme – FISP by introducing the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme – CASP.

He said the UPND Administration, in their own pronouncements, mentioned that they intended to diversify the agricultural sector because most of the farming activities were revolving around maize production.

Mr. Mundubile said President Hakainde Hichilema and Minister of Agriculture Mtolo Phiri preached diversification in the agricultural sector by giving prominence to equally other crops.

He said the President again mentioned that he had entered into an agreement with China to buy Soya Beans from Zambia of which he encouraged farmers to grow more soya beans.

Mr. Mundubile said many farmers went flat out to grow soya beans because they expected that the FRA would provide a market as they have done for maize.

“We are very shocked to learn that FRA has walked away from that responsibility after enticing farmers to grow soya beans,” he said.

Mr. Mundubile said failure to buy Soya Beans is unfortunate because it will cast a dark spell on the agriculture sector.

“The motivation to farmers to diversify away from maize will become difficult because farmers will find it hard to grow in their activities. The largest employer in Zambia is the agriculture sector accounting for 70% of the population. Now that the cost of living is high, even those in the informal sector have ventured into small scale farming to supplement on what they are earning,” he said.

The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament said the policy inconsistencies due to sudden changes in policy within Government will collapse the already struggling Agriculture sector.

“We were hoping that now that the UPND Administration clearly failed with the input distribution, they would try to revive on the marketing of the crop. We find that on both sides of the value chain, they collapsed the distribution of inputs and now they have collapsed even the marketing side of the value chain. This is unfortunate and I would want to get into the mind of President Hakainde Hichilema to discern from their wisdom of where they want to take the agriculture sector,” he said.


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