CENTRE for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo has urged Government to remove all restrictions that make it difficult for local traders to export agricultural commodities.
Mr. Mwaipopo pointed out that CTPD is concerned with the continued application of administrative delays and statutory instruments in managing agricultural commodities exports that end up hurting the growth of the sector.
In a statement inssued by Information and Communications Officer Mwaka Nyimbili, Mr Mwaipopo, noted that following the good rainfall experienced in the 2020/2021 agricultural season and timely delivery of inputs, CTPD anticipates a bumper harvest.
“We urge Government through Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo to take advantage of this and open for trade, as there are more benefits that can accrue to the weakling Zambian economy when we aggressively engage in trade, especially now that we have the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Initiative.
Despite Zambia having the potential to become the food basket for Central and Southern Africa, she has continued to pursue policies that discourage investments in the Agricultural sector, including the imposition of export bans done through the use of Statutory Instruments (SI),” lamented Mwaipopo, an economist by profession.
He added, “This has, in many marketing seasons, done less to achieve the intended purpose of the ban but often results in activating illegal grain trade done through informal channels of the countries’ border posts. These bans have a tendency of hurting domestic producers and traders by hindering their access to lucrative prices in international markets and it is very important to note that in the long-run export bans may affect food security of the country.”