During the recent Stanbic Bull Sale hosted by the Herdbook Society of Zambia, Dr Austin Mwape, Stanbic Bank’s Chairman, said that 70% of the Zambian population is employed by agriculture. This means that more than two thirds of the population, or 11,6 million people, depend on land cultivation for their daily bread and butter.
It is just unfathomable how the government can see these figures and even think of interfering with maize market powers on such a grand scale. We all know that a free market system is the most effective form of economy known to mankind, but it is very fragile and sensitive to government interference.
Venezuela is a good example. One of the major contributing factors to the Venezuela crisis was price control by the previous Chávez presidency. During 2016, food prices rose by 800% and according to a survey, 75% of the population had lost an average of at least 8,7 kg of body weight due to malnutrition.
There is nothing as dangerous as millions of small-scale farmers who suddenly stop producing surplus maize because they can’t make a living out of it. If agriculture takes a significant dip, the effects on the rest of the population will be devastating. We don’t want to spend most of our time in queues waiting for food rations like the Venezuelans are doing currently.
According to the ZNFU, government considers intervention with the price of maize determined by the Food Reserve Agency. We all hope that the K60 per 50 kg bag will soon be something of the past. This month our magazine is jampacked with informative articles and stories. We visit Evelyn Sakala Simbeye, a vegetable farmer with a very inspiring story. Seed Co, Tiger Chicks, and Bonnox show how they are constantly striving to make a farmer’s life easier and better.
Du Preez de Villiers – firstname.lastname@example.org
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