The Zambia Alliance for Women (ZAW) has called on government to provide an enabling environment that will assist women  to positively contribute to the economy of the country through the agriculture sector.

ZAW programs manager Ceaser Katebe said the involvement of women in the agriculture sector is of tremendous importance.

“The best way government can improve women involvement in the agriculture sector is by strategically providing a farmer input system that allows farmers to access their farming input at a right time,” he said.

Mr Katebe urged government to deliberately restrict certain farm products in the agriculture production chain to women so as to eliminate the stiff competition that they face thereby encouraging them to participate fully.

He said the cost of production is a factor among many others that is hindering the growth of the agriculture sector.

Mr Katebe said if government is to make agriculture an economy driving sector, it needs to encourage female participation by ensuring a reduction in the prices of farming inputs.

He attributed the failure of growth of small scale farmers to the price of farm products compared to by-products of farm products.

“Why should mealie-meal be more expensive than a bag of maize? This should tell you that someone is benefiting on the sweat of the farmer,” said Mr. Katebe.

He said government needs to sustain the agriculture food chain by proving a ready market for the products of the small scale farmers to ensure the growth of the agriculture sector.

Mr. Katebe said if well managed, agriculture has potential to provide employment to women and the youths across the country thereby reducing dependency on government provided jobs.

“As Zambia Alliance for Women we hope the Ministry of Agriculture will consider improving their sensitization programs of small scale farmers so as to raise awareness of all its programs aimed at improving the agriculture sector,” he stated.

Mr. Katebe said this during an interview with the Lusaka Star.

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