The request by local fruit and vegetable traders who have been crying to Government to limit imports to give them room to supply their commodities will soon be addressed, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda has said.
He said he had already instructed officers in the Ministry of Agriculture to carry out a review of the food and vegetables market in Zambia so as to know whether or not the country had efficient fruit and vegetables and other agricultural commodities to supply.
Mr Lubinda said this was because Government was very keen to come up with measures that support local production and processing of commodities generally, but in particular agricultural commodities.
“I need that information to guide me because decisions such as these can only be made after you have a proper analysis of the situation, because you risk affecting food supply.
“As your readers may have noticed, before I make a decision on whether to allow imports or exports on any commodity, I like to consult so that the decisions have a positive impact on the economy and a positive impact on the national food basket,” he said.
Mr. Lubinda, however, said there were times he allowed importations because there was short supply from local farmers.
He said he was always careful to ensure the importation did not affect the local fruits and vegetables. Mr Lubinda said doing so was a way of trying to encourage local consumption of high quality products which would then stimulate production of such commodities.