Nyimba: President Hakainde Hichilema says the UPND New Dawn Government is determined to make the agriculture sector the leading industry in the country.
The pronouncement by the Head of State is in line with the UPND Party Manifesto, which seeks to improve agricultural productivity to meet household and national food security and become the regional breadbasket.
Speaking during the launch of the 2023/2024 National Planting season in Chief Ndake’s Chiefdom in Nyimba District of Eastern Province, President Hichilema said the government will use various interventions, such as putting in place the right policies that will support the country’s agriculture sector.
President Hichilema cited the pricing of agricultural produce as an important policy in making agriculture the leading industry in the country.
“This is the first time a government moved the maize flow price from K180 to K280 for a 50kg bag of maize, and our intention of doing that was to give farmers a fair price,” President Hichilema said.
President Hichilema said the revision of the flow price of maize was also aimed at encouraging farmers to produce more maize thereby increasing supply and stabilizing the price of mealie meal.
President Hichilema further said that the government will expand the amount of money in the agriculture credit window, an initiative aimed at empowering farmers and enhancing agricultural production across the country.
He said the UPND New Dawn Government has managed to clear debts owed to farmers by the previous government and to promptly pay all farmers who sold their produce to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the previous marketing season.
President Hichilema said that previously, farmers would wait for a long time without being paid their money after selling their produce to the FRA.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema appealed to traditional leaders to teach their subjects how to invest their money in productive activities such as agriculture, adding that many people were spending their money on non-productive activities.
He further appealed to all elected and appointed public officers to work as one and serve the Zambian people, stating that the UPND New Dawn Government will work with everyone without segregation.