THE National Union for Small Scale Farmers of Zambia (NUSSFZ) has hailed President Edgar Lungu’s decision to split the Ministry of Agriculture and shift the department of Cooperatives to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
The small-scale farmers also urged Zambians to rally behind the President’s parliamentary pronouncements and not to politicise issues.
NUSSFZ director general Frank Kayula said in a statement that redirecting cooperatives to the Ministry of Commerce would help shift focus on livestock production and productivity in Zambia.
“The split of the Ministry of Agriculture into two and the shift of the Department of Cooperatives to the Ministry of Commerce is what we have called for in the past. The split will help to focus on the
promotion of livestock production and productivity in Zambia,” Dr Kayula said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock had been split into the ministries of Agriculture and that of Livestock and Fisheries.
Dr Kayula said livestock production had provided income for many small-scale farmers and if developed, it would enhance growth among small-scale farmers, especially maize production.
Once cooperatives are moved to the Ministry of Commerce, they would operate more like businesses and subsequently enhance rural entrepreneurship and spur rural industrialisation.
The union urged Zambians to back President Lungu’s policy directives.
“We now call upon all politicians to stop politicking in everything and recognise that Zambians will not eat politics. We need to support the incumbent leadership to make sense of our sovereignty,” he said.
Dr Kayula, who described President Lungu’s speech as wonderful, said it was equally important for permanent secretaries and directors in ministries to support the Government by working hard.
And the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has commended President Lungu for the progressive pronouncements on economic diversification.
“We have for a long time been calling on Government to diversify the economy to other sectors other than mining. We believe that if as a country we invested in improving the agriculture sector where more
than 60 per cent of women work, this would not only improve the economic status of women, but bring about economic development and food security to the country,” NGOCC chairperson Sara Longwe said.
Ms Longwe said in a statement that the NGOCC was also happy that the President made pronouncements addressing the power deficit which had affected women.
She also said separating the Gender Ministry would result in efficient operations.
Ms Longwe, however, said she was hopeful that the pronouncements would not end as political rhetoric.
She also wished that the President addressed the devaluing Kwacha, announced measures to reduce Government spending like reducing entourages on foreign trips and job losses in the mining sector.
“We appeal that the President constitutes a think-tank that is going to deliberate and put in place stringent short and medium-term measures to address the depressing economy and mitigate its effects on the people of Zambia, especially the women who are already marginalised and are ravaged by poverty,” Ms Longwe said.