ZAMBIA has been ranked third, out of 28 sub-Saharan Africa countries, in the design and implementation of regulations and processes that promote an enabling environment for farmers to thrive.
The ranking, contained in the 2019 Enabling Business of Agriculture (EBA) report, has drawn commendation from the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC).
Zambia scored well in five out of eight quantitative indicators which include; supplying seed, registering fertilizer, securing water, registering machinery, sustaining livestock, protecting plant health, trading food, and accessing finance.
However, the PMRC has encouraged the government to improve more on this gain as the strive for improvement will continue reforming agriculture and agribusiness in the country.
PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Deka- Zulu told the Techwatch News that the government needs to continue providing a conducive environment for increased private sector investment within the sector.
“There is also a need for increased funding towards research and development as well as extension services, to enable the country to score in all the indicators of the EBA report,” Mrs Zulu recommended.
She also observes that despite the EBA report indicating some areas of improvement in the use of farm machinery, plant protection and food trading, there is need for the government to improve more in the said areas adding that increased funding towards research, development and extension services is crucial for the country to score in all EBA report indicators.
Meanwhile, Mrs Zulu said the mentioned areas of gain in the report are critical for a successful agricultural sector hence reiterating the need for the government to speed up the establishment of the tractor assembly in the country to enhance the use of farm machinery, especially by the smallholder farmers.
The Think Tank also notes the improvement in plant protection is essential, as the country grapples with the effects of climate change which she said has brought about new pests and insects that are destroying crops.
Mrs Zulu added that this calls for increased funding towards research and development in the sector to capacitate the research institutions to carry out research and experiments in a timely manner.