President Edgar Lungu says foreign media and other factions are trying to poison the business and political space in Zambia.
President Lungu said this when he officiated at the AGRITECH Expo in Chisamba yesterday.
“As government, we will continue providing an enabling environment with stable and predictable policies to spur the growth of the sector. I am happy to note the presence of various foreign exhibitors here, not to mention the diplomats. For me and indeed for government, this is an affirmation that Zambia remains a stable, safe and attractive business and political environment much to the shame of a few unpatriotic [citizens] seeking to tarnish the image of the country, like I said; foreign media and other factions. Those seeking to perpetually poison political and business space with a view of forcing a system failure are mistaken,” President Lungu said.
“Zambia is going to move on, Zambia is going to see meaningful events such as this one. We have work to do and no time to politick endlessly.”
The Head of State promised that his government would continue creating policies aimed at achieving diversification in agriculture.
“We will also continue to create policies aimed at promoting private and public sector investments in agriculture and doing exhibitions which will help drive government’s agriculture diversification vision. It is imperative for us to harness the country’s water resources and make agriculture a perennial business. The government has embarked on irrigation schemes across the country to bring more land under irrigation. This is just one of the ways that this country will be transformed into a green country; because green talks about the food, a peaceful healthy environment. Green is the color of life,” President Lungu said .
President Lungu directed the Ministry of National Development to ensure that the Water Resource Management Authority water fees and fines that are prohibitive to the promotion of irrigation to develop the agriculture sector.
He also encouraged more people to venture into fish farming.
“Personally, I am into fish farming with about 2,500 fishes in the pond at home and it will be ready next week, hence, I am encouraging everyone to get into this sector, and Government will continue enacting sound policies to drive agriculture forward,” said President Lungu.
And Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said she will ensure that money meant for farmers does not end up being used to buying cars for government officials.
“We want to serve the farmers. Now agriculture needs a lot of …we need water, we need energy, we need the local authorities to participate in agriculture trade issues. I will be calling for a meeting in the next one week with the minister of Local Government to discuss the challenges of levies they have raised. We had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance to discuss the funding issues and to ensure that money meant for farmers surely must not end up in buying the cars that you are talking about for people in government. We will ensure that emerging farmers your honor have access to cheap financing. It is my opportunity to call upon the banks that you have the responsibility to take a chance of the Zambian farmer. We have to increase financing to the agricultural sector in the country. I will also be looking at the insurance sector very very actively,” said Siliya.
“I am glad that we are able to hold an expo like this one because without a good and enabling environment, this would not be happening your excellency. I would like to urge my fellow Zambians that there is something good happening in Zambia, let not anyone mislead you, otherwise would not see the increased participation of foreign participation. I think the challenge is for us in government, my colleagues the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Finance, and the Zambia National Farmers Union to hold your hands true and address the challenges. And my promise as the ministry is to ensure that I have an open door policy with everyone and ensure that the issues that are outstanding are resolved.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Michael Katambo said Zambia was now self-sufficient in poultry and beef, but government was developing various programmes to promote and develop the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors.
At this years’ AGRITECH Expo, the international Pavilions featured were the German, Zimbabwean, French, United Kingdom, the Czech Republican, Dutch and the Chinese out of 227 in total.