PART ICROP MARKETING IN ZAMBIA
5.0 Your Committee was privileged to study crop marketing in Zambia. This followed concernsfrom various stakeholders that, while Zambia had recorded a bumper harvest in the 2010/2011farming season, the crop might go to waste with the onset of the rains, largely because of poormarketing and inadequate storage facilities. Moreover, complaints were recorded that some farmerswho had already supplied their produce to the FRA had not been paid while others, particularly,small-scale farmers had been forced to sell their produce to unscrupulous businessmen and women atuncompetitive prices because of limited access to markets. In undertaking this study, your Committeehoped to achieve the following objectives:a.
establish Government policy on crop marketing;b.
ascertain the adequacy of crop storage facilities in Zambia; andc.
recommend the way forward.In order to gather adequate information on this subject, your Committee sought written memorandaand oral submission from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Food Reserve Agency(FRA), Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF), Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ),Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), Zambia National Farmers Unions (ZNFU), IndabaAgricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), and Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange(ZAMACE). The summary of the findings of your Committee are set out below.
Government Policy on Crop Marketing
Your Committee was informed that the Zambian Government supports free trade in agriculturalmarketing, except where public interest in safety, health, and food security was compromised. Severalwitnesses, however, bemoaned the lack of comprehensive agricultural marketing and legal policyframework to guide the functions of the agricultural sector. It was noted that, although the ZambianGovernment supports free trade in agricultural marketing, occasionally, exports of grain are restrictedor delayed. This action had always resulted into loss of revenue and loss of export opportunities.
Players Involved in Crop Marketing
Your Committee was informed that the key players involved in crop marketing were Food ReserveAgency, co-operative movement, small traders (middle men), large grain traders, millers, and NGO's.The small traders mainly purchased the crop on behalf of the large grain traders and millers on acommission basis.Further, your Committee was informed that, recently, some marketing activities had taken placethrough the Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE). It was argued that trading on theCommodity Exchange platform promoted transparency and price discovery, and that the Governmentsupported the initiative.
The Role of Government in Crop Marketing
Your Committee was informed that the main role of Government in a liberalised market environmentwas to put in place an enabling environment which would encourage the private sector to fullyparticipate in agricultural marketing. This should include conducive policy and legal frameworks.The Government should also invest in public goods such as access roads and storage infrastructure,especially in rural areas. Attractive incentives should also be offered to the private sector toencourage them to participate in crop marketing, particularly in outlying areas.