Farmers in Zambia on Wednesday expressed anger over the government’s decision to reverse a recent ban on importation of vegetables and fruit products.

On Monday, the government reversed a recent ban on the importation of vegetables and cited some regional protocols as one reason for the reversal.

But the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), an organization of farmers in the country, said the move will discourage farmers and frustrate the crop diversification which could have been triggered had the government stuck with the ban.

“Why should the country import tomatoes, onions, watermelon, butternut and pineapples which are already in abundance and farmers are struggling to sell them. As a country, its high time we started feeding ourselves,” Jervis Zimba, the president of the organization is quoted saying by the Times of Zambia.

Zambia, he said, was losing about 42 million U.S. dollars annually on importation of vegetables while adhering to regional protocols that other member states seem to be ignoring.

He wondered why Zambia was so tied up with regional trade protocols when other member countries of regional bodies were not following the guidelines on the regional agreement and cited Zimbabwe which has banned the importation of agricultural products.

According to him, Zambia risked becoming a dumping place for agricultural products if the government did not retaliate against the protectionist actions of other countries, adding that the country’s climate was conducive to the production to a whole range of many agricultural products. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/