At FARMAF’s international policy workshop, held from 14–15 April 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia, the keynote address was delivered by Zambia’s Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, the Honourable Given Lubinda. The Minister began his speech by highlighting Zambia’s position as the “future grain basket for Southern and Eastern Africa regions”, acknowledging the country’s agricultural successes whilst remaining mindful of the challenges that still exist in the sector.
He drew attention to Africa’s largely untapped resources, and the continent’s “capacity to produce enough surplus food to feed the rest of the world”. His rallying cry to all African nations was to take up this challenge through public-private partnerships.
The Minister was very supportive of the ‘timely’ Policy Workshop as a means to help shape future policies to increase farm productivity and food production, especially in the face of climate change. He went on to discuss the benefits of farm diversification, access to relevant extension services and improved farm technologies, particularly for small-scale farmers. He pledged his government’s commitment to “providing an enabling policy environment” where farm risk management programmes can be scaled up, so that farmers in Zambia and other countries across the region can have access to reliable market information, efficient marketing systems and tools to manage price risks.
He mentioned with optimism that the Warehouse Receipt System, a crop marketing tool that has worked well in other countries, is soon to be launched in Zambia. The Minister urged the participants to sensitise small-scale farmers to effectively utilise the system, and stressed the importance of sharing lessons on all the risk management tools promoted under the FARMAF project.
The full transcript of this speech is available here