THE Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has hailed the importation ban of onions and table potatoes saying the move would protect the infant industries that are unable to compete favourably with the foreign players.
However, the Chamber has urged local farmers to reciprocate in ensuring that they strive to meet acceptable standards of their products if they have to compete with imported produce.
LCCI President Alexander Lawrence pointed out that move will also create a ready market for the local products.
“Considering the fact that Zambia has the capacity to meet local demand for the onions and potatoes, the restriction will therefore encourage farmers to increase production and strengthen the agricultural value chain,” Mr Lawrence said.
He further noted that with the COVID-19 pandemic currently making rounds, the restriction will help to protect domestic jobs and increase household revenue.
“Zambia has been a dumping site of certain foreign products for a very long time and such measures will go a long way in controlling this trend.
“The Chamber strongly believes that in the long run, such measures will help increase national food security and overcome the balance of payment deficit,” he said.
And Mr Lawrence has urged local farmers to support the government directive saying the tide falls on their favour.
“Our local farmers should receive this announcement with a sense of encouragement from the government and reciprocate in ensuring that they strive to meet acceptable standards,” he said.
Mr Lawrence pointed out that local farmers should improve in product quality, packaging and branding mostly required by chain stores like Shoprite, Choppies, PicknPay and Game Stores.
He said this would make their products compete with the imports flooding the market.