Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu recently said that agriculture will be a top priority in the country’s economic diversification agenda.
Lungu made the announcement during his speech to Parliament on September 30th, 2016.
“The agriculture sector, fisheries, and livestock will be the main focus around which other sectors will be developed in an integrated manner […],” he said.
“Given our abundant ground and surface water, the fisheries sub-sector has immense potential. We need to turn this potential into commercially viable projects that will uplift our people’s nutrition status and incomes. To this effect, my administration is encouraging the development of fisheries value chains in all communities with abundant water resources,” Lungu added.
Currently (2016), the Zambian Government is expanding the fisheries sub-sector through the development of aquaculture parks in high potential zones.
In addition, helping farmers to store their production and linking them to markets can boost their production and earnings, Lungu explained.
Moreover, he noted that other sectors such as science and technology, commerce trade and industry, energy, health, water development, research, and development are essential to Zambia’s green revolution.
“The [agriculture] sector will need to become sustainable through access to clean energy, affordable financing, and links to market,” he said.
Zambia Economy Diversification
The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper-mining industry, which contributes around 10% to Zambia’s GDP and accounts for 60% of the country’s total exports.
According to a recent study by the International Growth Centre (IGC), a London-based research institute, the sugar, cotton and coffee sub-sectors have the potential to diversify Zambia’s economy and contribute significantly to its growth.
The research indicates that sugar is one of Zambia’s most important economic sub-sectors and one of the most successful non-traditional exports sectors.
The sector accounts for 3–4% of Zambia’s GDP and 6% of the total national exports. The sugar industry provides employment for around 11,000 workers, with a total number of dependents exceeding 75,000.
The sugar industry generates over USD45m in gross exports annually, which has almost doubled from the mid-1990s when export earnings stood at around USD25m.