Govt to remove agric subsidies next year

GOVERNMENT will next year remove consumption subsidies in the agriculture sector and channel them to the production segment, says Minister of Agriculture, Dora Siliya. Ms Siliya said Government needed to get rid of ‘unsmart’ subsidies such as those on consumption while promoting the production side of the agriculture sector. She was speaking at the official opening of the Feed Africa Implementation Engagement workshop for Southern Africa organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB). “We have to suffer a little bit more to begin to dismantle unsmart subsidies, especially consumption subsidies and we want to begin in the first year which is 2017 to provide for smart subsidies. “We do not want to make poor farmers to continue to be poor because of subsidising consumption at the expense of production,” she said. Ms Siliya also said Government was losing colossal sums of money supporting peasant farmers under the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) who did not graduate. She explained that Government was putting in a lot of money in the FISP without making money out of agriculture because the output from peasant farmers produced yearly was equally not making any money. “We are looking for ways in which Government should start making money out of agriculture because we want to make money out of it through taxes and so on. “Even though 80 percent of the country’s labour is in agriculture, there is not much in value addition to lead to registration of a company to make a return on that investment,” he said. Ms Siliya further said it was time for Africa to consider agriculture as a business and that initiatives such as Feed Africa were essential in promoting the sector in the continent. Speaking earlier, AfDB resident representative Damoni Kitabire said the bank’s support to Zambia’s agriculture was now over US$180 million. Mr Kitabire said the bank was grateful that Zambia was accommodating both the development and the launch of the Feed Africa strategy. “We are grateful that Zambia is accommodating both the development and the launch of the Feed Africa strategy. This underlines the high esteem in which the bank hold Zambia as a member country,” he said.

One thought on “Govt to remove agric subsidies next year

  1. Correct me if am wrong. This move by the Minister of Agric to remove subsidies will cause more problems than good because the cost of production will increase thereby triggering an increase in Agriculture products(food).

    Remember 70-80% of Zambians live under the poverty line meaning they will not be able to produce or buy what will be produced by rich farmers.

    This will result in more poverty for most of Zambians.

    Bob Marley once said “a hungry man is an angry man”.

    I hope the Minister knows what she is doing.

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