ZAMBIA – Government has called on the private sector to invest in grain storage facilities as the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) silos can only hold 900,000 metric tonnes of cereal.

During the past five years, Zambia has been recording maize bumper harvests of not less than three million tonnes, most of which goes to waste due to inadequate storage facilities in the country.

In an interview recently, Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said the coming up of the Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE) has presented opportunities for people to invest in warehouses.

“This government is committed to diversify the economy away from its overdependence on copper.

We are moving decisively to transform Zambia into an agro-based economy, and this is why we are introducing policies that will favour our farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector.”

“For example, services at ZAMACE present opportunities for everybody and people should invest in storage sheds that will give them meaningful benefits. These sheds, once certified, will enable operators start issuing receipts, which the owners of grains can redeem for cash,” he said.

Mr Lubinda said access to finance has been a challenge for the majority of small-scale farmers and traders in the agriculture sector.

“This is mainly due to the collateral they are required to provide by financial institutions, but are not able to meet the banks’ requirements.

With the coming of ZAMACE, a farmer, trader or anyone with grain, can deposit their commodity in a certified warehouse, and the receipt issued will be used as collateral and can be used to obtain finance from financial institutions that will be collaborating with ZAMACE,” he said.

January 6, 2016;