A lecturer of Economics at the University of Zambia has observed that Agriculture can be a source of foreign exchange if only more attention is paid to it. A University of Zambia (UNZA) economics lecturer says agriculture can be a major source of foreign exchange if it was given more attention by government and other stakeholders.
In an interview with Lusaka star, Mr. Abson Chompolola said the country had the capacity to develop the agricultural sector to a point where it could contribute to the development of the country by bringing in the much needed foreign exchange.
Mr. Chompolola said the country had for a long time depended on copper as the major source of foreign exchange noting that such was a hindrance to the development of the country.
He charged that it was time the country stopped depending on copper as it (Zambia) had no control in setting of copper prices at the international market.
Mr. Chompolola noted, “If the agriculture sector is fully utilised, there will be less dependence on copper and this will help in having a stable economy.
“Our country is well positioned considering it is a landlocked country and that many countries in southern Africa have nshima as their staple food, meaning we can start exporting maize as a finished product,” he added.
He urged farmers and the government to take advantage of the country’s favourable rainfall and agriculture conditions to fully develop the agriculture sector.
Mr. Chompolola observed that Zambia could be a power house of agriculture products in Southern Africa and the entire continent at large, but only if political will was attached to the sector.
Meanwhile, the UNZA Economics Lecturer pointed out that this year’s maize bumper harvest should be seen in the reduction in the form of reduced mealie-meal prices.
He charged that it was unacceptable for people to continue buying mealie-meal at a high price when the country had recorded a bumper harvest.
“We cannot understand why the prices of mealie-meal continue going up has if we export maize but in the actual sense it is produced locally,” Mr. Chompolola added.
He called on government to come up with a sustainable system that could be used to regulate meali-meal prices in the country.