Zambia is on the path to lead agriculture in Africa

Macro of Zambia on a globe, narrow depth of field

The Zambian government is actively reorienting its focus towards agriculture, aiming to establish it as the nation’s foremost industry. President Hakainde Hichilema, in a recent address, emphasized the government’s commitment to elevating the role of agriculture in Zambia’s economic landscape. During the official launch of the 2023/2024 national planting season, President Hichilema underscored the critical importance of agriculture to Zambia’s economic prosperity. “Whatever it takes, we are going to do it. Agriculture will be number one as we move forward,” he affirmed, signaling a decisive policy direction for the country.

Central to this agricultural overhaul is the revision of existing policies that have previously constrained the sector. Key among these changes is the increase in maize prices and the prompt delivery of farming inputs under the government’s Farmer Input Support Program. These moves are seen as vital steps in creating a more fertile environment for agricultural growth and productivity.

In addition to these policy shifts, the Zambian government has introduced a new credit facility aimed at spurring more people to engage in agricultural ventures. This financial support is expected to lower entry barriers and encourage greater participation in farming activities, contributing to the sector’s growth.

President Hichilema has also called for a comprehensive stakeholders’ meeting, to be organized by the Agriculture Minister, aimed at addressing various challenges plaguing the sector. This meeting is anticipated to be a platform for dialogue and problem-solving, paving the way for more targeted and effective agricultural strategies.

Highlighting the sector’s potential, the President pointed to the burgeoning regional market for commodities like maize, which Zambia could capitalize on by boosting its agricultural productivity. This focus on export-oriented growth underlines the government’s vision for agriculture as a key driver of economic development.

Agriculture Minister Reuben Phiri, on Tuesday, reported that the ministry has successfully completed the distribution of fertilizer and seed to over one million farmers under its subsidized program. This achievement marks a significant milestone in the government’s efforts to support and enhance agricultural productivity across Zambia.

As Zambia positions agriculture at the forefront of its economic agenda, these policy initiatives and support mechanisms are set to play a pivotal role in transforming the sector into a primary industry, potentially setting a precedent for agricultural development in the region.

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