Egypt eyes Zambia for regional food basket

15:31, May 27, 2011      

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Zambia could become a food basket in the southern African region if it continued with its sound agricultural policies, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Friday, citing a senior Egyptian government official.

Zambia has recorded a bumper harvest of maize, which was its staple crop in the last two seasons. During the 2009/2010 season, the country produced 2.8 million tons of maize while during the 2010/2011 season, the country has produced 3 million tons.

Salah El-Sadak, the Egyptian ambassador to Zambia, said the effective agricultural policies put in place by the government offer an opportunity for the country to become a food basket in the region.

"We are happy to see that the agricultural policies in Zambia are working well as can be evidenced by another bumper harvest that the country has recorded this year. Zambia has good arable land and plenty of water, which Zambians have to use to grow more food for consumption and for export. These measures that Government is undertaking, particularly in the agricultural sector, will make Zambia become a food basket in the region," the Egyptian envoy was quoted as saying by the paper.

The Egyptian envoy however said the biggest challenge facing the government was to create enough storage facilities, saying there was need to put in place effective interventions to ensure that no maize went to waste.

"The big challenge now lies with government to provide enough storage space to protect the maize from going to waste. Farmers have done the commendable job of growing enough maize, and it is therefore the duty of this government to ensure that this produce is protected from going to waste," he added.

Source: Xinhua
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