ZAMBIA— Zambia and China have signed two protocols on sanitary and phytosanitary export of soya bean meal and stevia leaves to the Asian country.

The protocols were signed by Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui and Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture Mtolo Phiri in the presence of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema who said it was a mark of true friendship between China and Zambia.

“We are very delighted that we have another market for our agricultural products,” said the president, noting that the move will ensure more trade cooperation between the two countries, which will create more jobs in Zambia.

The Chinese envoy said after signing the two protocols that China will strengthen its cooperation with Zambia in the agriculture sector.

The deal comes on the heels of an announcement by Zambia’s Ministry of an increase in soya bean production in the 2021/2022 farming season. With an estimated production of 475, 353 metric tonnes, Oilseeds stakeholders have allowed the Grain Traders Association of Zambia-GTAZ to export 100, 000 metric tonnes of soya beans.

This will allow the traders to participate in soya beans marketing and venture into the export market, which will in turn be of benefit to the entire value chain which is key to future expansion of soya beans production.

As soya bean farmers stand to benefit widely from this deal, the aspect covering the export of Stevia leaves will initially only benefit five commercial farmers, with calls for more local farmers to get involved and start cultivating the crop and benefit from the export market that has now been re-opened.

Martin Siazemo, Senior Plant Health Inspector for Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service, a department in the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for facilitating safe agriculture trade however mentioned that a number of small-scale farmers have expressed interest in growing the crop noting that they have irrigation infrastructure but need to be given contracts by the company promoting and marketing the production of stevia in Zambia.

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