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Failure to buy soya beans will cast black spell on Agriculture – Mundubile

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Leader of the Opposition in the House Brian Mundubile says failure to buy Soya Beans is unfortunate because it will cast a dark spell on the agriculture sector.

This comes after the Food Reserve Agency last month announced that the government will not be buying soya beans from farmers saying they have enough in stock.

Mundubile says all policies the United Party for National Development (UPND) Administration is coming up with are meant to collapse the agriculture sector as can be seen by the Food Reserve Agency’s (FRA) resolve not buying soya beans from farmers.

He says the UPND came in with a new policy away from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) by introducing the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme ( CASP).

He said the UPND administration, in their own pronouncements, mentioned that they intended to diversify the agricultural sector because most of the farming activities were revolving around maize production.

Mundubile says President Hakainde Hichilema and Minister of Agriculture Mtolo Phiri preached diversification in the agricultural sector by giving prominence to equally other crops.

He says the President again mentioned that he had entered into an agreement with China to buy Soya Beans from Zambia of which he encouraged farmers to grow more soya beans.

Mundubile says many farmers went flat out to grow soya beans because they expected that the FRA would provide a market as they have done for maize.

“We are very shocked to learn that FRA has walked away from that responsibility after enticing farmers to grow soya beans.

“The motivation to farmers to diversify away from maize will become difficult because farmers will find it hard to grow in their activities.

“The largest employer in Zambia is the agriculture sector accounting for 70% of the population. Now that the cost of living is high, even those in the informal sector have ventured into small scale farming to supplement on what they are earning,” Mundubile said.

Mundubile says the policy inconsistencies due to sudden changes in policy within government will collapse the already struggling Agriculture sector.

“We were hoping that now that the UPND Administration clearly failed with the input distribution, they would try to revive on the marketing of the crop. We find that on both sides of the value chain, they collapsed the distribution of inputs and now they have collapsed even the marketing side of the value chain. This is unfortunate and I would want to get into the mind of President Hakainde Hichilema to discern from their wisdom of where they want to take the agriculture sector,” he said.

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