Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Zambia Calls For Affordable Food Prices

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Zambian government says there is need for African states to find better strategies that will make food prices affordable to all Africans on the continent.

Leader of the Zambian delegation to the three day meeting of Senior officials meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries in Ethiopia, Derrick Sikombe says the strategies must also ensure that there is price stability and stability of income for farmers.

Mr Sikombe, who is also Chief Agricultural Economist in the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia, says there is also need to provide services such as electricity, water and sanitation in rural areas in order for agricultural production to be increased.

He said this when he addressed the plenary session of the senior officials meeting at the African Union Headquarters this morning.

Mr Sikombe added that knowledge and skills in food processing and preservation must be made readily available in Africa so that people engaged in agriculture can help increase productivity.

Meanwhile, Uganda has called on African countries to enact laws that will regulate and promote nutrition in all AU-member states.

According to the submission by the Ugandan delegation to the meeting, enforcing laws such as guiding each district to produce a minimum amount of a certain crop can help boost nutrition levels in each country.

And the Zimbabwean delegation has proposed the prioritization of strategic food reserves as a way of ensuring food security.

According to Zimbabwe, food reserves maintain a balance in times of need and therefore governments must spend more money in maintaining them. 

But Sierra Leone has complained that most of its youths who are based in urban areas are shunning the villages due to lack of basic services.

The Sierra Leonean delegation says since the country emerged from war over a decade ago, basic services are non-existent in rural areas and youths can not take part in agriculture because they do not like rural areas.

The three day senior officials meeting has attracted agricultural officials from all African countries who are preparing resolutions that will be adopted by Agricultural ministers during the Joint Ministerial Conference on Agriculture which will take place on Thursday and Friday this week in Ethiopia.

Agriculture Ministers from across Africa are later this week expected to converge at the African Union headquarters to discuss agricultural issues as part of the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

Zambia will be represented by Agriculture Deputy Minister Greyford Monde who is expected in Ethiopia tomorrow.

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