Horticulture sector needs firm policies – Minister

ZAMBIA – Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya has called on stakeholders in the horticulture sector to agree on a common position with Government to avoid inconsistency in policies.

This follows Government’s decision to reserve the recent restrictions on the importation of some vegetables and fruits.

Ms Siliya said it is the ministry’s mandate to promote crop production and diversification to ensure national food security in the country.

Speaking at the stakeholders’ consultative meeting on fruits, vegetables and livestock products in Zambia recently, she said Government takes cognisance of the fact that certain types of fruits and vegetables cannot be grown locally such as apples, pears, plums and peaches, among others, hence the need to import some products.

“My wish is that all stakeholders will agree on a common position regarding the issue of imports of fruits and vegetables and avoid inconsistency in policy and guidelines.

“This meeting has been called by the Ministry of Agriculture as part of the ongoing consultation regarding the importation of fruits, vegetables and livestock commodities into Zambia,” she said.

Ms Siliya also said Government is working with farmers and farmer organisations to address issues of inconsistency in quality, supply, standards, food hygiene and food safety which have consistently been highlighted by the chain stores as major hindrances to local sourcing of agricultural products.

At the same occasion, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said Government has engaged stakeholders to find means of increasing production capacity of local farm producers to enable them supply the local and foreign markets.

Mrs Mwanakatwe said Zambia is a signatory to binding trade protocols in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and that a ban would have been accompanied by a statutory instrument.

April 14, 2017: Daily Mail

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