Following the signing of a collaborative agreement between the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) and AFGRI Operations Limited in June 2014 on an initiative known as the Tractor for Maize Scheme, individuals or groups of farmers who are organized in cooperatives with no collateral are now able to purchase equipment with a 30% deposit of the cost with the remaining balance to be paid over a period of three years.
According to the Zambian Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Luxon Kazabu, who spoke at the end of 2014 at a handover ceremony of five farming machineries to farmers in Chilanga, the government is committed to increasing the productivity level of the country’s famers.
“In this day and age especially with 50 years of independence, it is a tragedy for small-scale farmers to be using a plough or a hand hoe,” he said, “As Government, we shall continue to support initiatives that add value to our economy, and the tractor for maize collaborative agreement entered into between ZCF and AFGRI is just but one of such initiatives that should be supported.”
More recently, on December 31, 2014, the Commander of the Zambia National Service (ZNS), Lieutenant-General Nathan Mulenga, revealed additional government effort include the procurement of troop carriers and other land development machinery worth more than ZMK 360 million to be used to construct more feeder roads and bridges to link markets and promote trade.
“In the area of food production, Government is happy that the service has embarked on an expansion program to increase production threefold,” he said.
During the most recent marketing season, while Zambia recorded a bumper harvest of 3.5 million tons of maize, yields from individual farmers remained low; however, the latest initiative has opened opportunities for Zambian farmers to graduate from small-scale farmers to commercial farmers.