By Scoop Reporter
GOVERNMENT has engaged fruit and vegetable farmers understand the challenges that the sector is facing.
The meeting, which was held on Thursday and chaired by Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Songowayo Zyambo also aimed to understand what incentives needed need to be in place for the sector to sustainably grow.
The idea as envisioned by the ministry is to develop action points that will see practical steps that will result in the sector growing sustainably.
The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) attended the meeting and some key issues the Union raised were centered on market related challenges, stating that there is persistent market erosion because of uncontrolled importation of fruits and vegetables some of which can be produced locally.
The meeting noted that many times, Government blames this on trade protocols which Zambia has signed, though it is not easy to export similar products into other countries, particularly the SADC Region, because these countries apply SPS standards as a non-tariff barrier.
Farmers also observed that SPS regulations in Zambia are not as rigorous as what other countries apply hence the need to be worked on.
The meeting proposed to have SPS regulatory inspectors placed at strategic points North and South of the country to help enforce domestic compliance.