Zambian agribusiness eyes regional market

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

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At the Euromoney Zambia Finance and Investment Conference in Lusaka, it was suggested that the country’s agricultural sector has the potential to become a leading player in the region

Addressing the conference, Zambeef Products Joint Chief Executive Officer Carl Irwin said: “There are 460 million people in SADC and COMESA and we need to ensure our industry is competitive in this market.

“Zambia is the envy of many countries in Africa and around the world in that we are self-sufficient in many agricultural products, including beef, milk, chickens, eggs and soybean. That’s a huge credit to Zambia and the agricultural sector.”

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With more than 700,000 members of the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), small-scale farmers form the bedrock of the sector; with half the country’s population relying on agriculture, the sector is the naturally the country’s largest employer.

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Zambia’s abundant water, fertile soil and conducive climate have the country’s farmers a competitive advantage. Improvements in infrastructure, especially to road networks and telecommunications, in the last two decades have also contributed to strengthening the sector.

Irwin added: “For me the most important thing if creating the market, and if you do that you will see the supply follow. The agriculture sector reacts quickly when the market is created; the critical thing is creating this market.”

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