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CSO-SUN says market linkages key to ensuring that farmers have markets for their produce.

The Civil Society Organization Scaling Up Nutrition CSO-SUN says ddiversification of Zambia’s Agriculture Sector will not be achieved as long as farmers do not have a ready market for other crops other than maize, Soya Beans and Rice.
CSO-SUN Country Coordinator Mathews Mhuru said market linkages are key components of ensuring that farmers have markets for their produce hence the need for the Food Reserve Agency to include other crops on the list of crops it is buying from farmers.
He said markets play a fundamental role in influencing what farmers grow and hence the lack of it for other crops has seen Zambia continue on the path of maize.
Mr. Mhuru has noted with concern that Government through the Food Reserve Agency has continued to provide market for Maize, Soya Beans and Rice which defeats the drive for crop diversification.
“As a country that is grappling to end malnutrition, there is strong need to provide a diversified market to include other crops such as millet, groundnuts, beans and Sorghum among others that have a higher nutritional value,” Mr. Mhuru added.
He has however commended Private Sector players such as Zambian Breweries for providing market for crops such as Barley and Cassava for the production of beer.
Mr. Mhuru has further described the K110 maize price announced by the Food Reserve Agency as rip-off that will make peasant farmers poorer.
He noted that government should have offered a higher price compared to the K140 that private buyers were offering farmers.
Mr. Mhuru noted that the K110 maize floor price is very low compared to the cost of production which has remained high and has since appealed to President Edgar Lungu to again intervene and consider offering poor farmers a better price. %

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