The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) says Zambian food manufacturers must up-scale production to enter lucrative export markets.
This is as it emerged that Zambian exports to South Africa were unequal to that of imports from that country.
ZIPAR research fellow Mwanda Phiri said local food producers must be more competitive to gain access to international markets.
“We need to scale up our efforts in the quality of the packaging materials we use to be competitive with other regional markets,” Phiri said.
ZIPAR said that pooling smallholder producers can easily lead to economies of scale, a major constraint to supply chain stores and export markets.
“We have to look at how best we can bring together small businesses to reduce the challenge of capacity to meet demand,” Phiri said.
Meanwhile, Zambia was challenged to close the huge trade imbalance with South Africa, the country’s major trading partner.
South African High Commissioner to Zambia, Sikose Mji, told a trade and investment mission meeting in Lusaka it is possible for Zambia to reverse the volume of trade that is tilted in favour of South Africa.
“There is nothing we can do from our side if our people want to trade with Zambia and the volume of trade is in our favour. But the opposite can also be true,” Mji said.
According to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Zambian exports to South Africa stands at US$34 million, while its imports are more than US$2.6 billion.
Speaking at the same event, Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba urged Zambian producers to take up the challenge of improving exports to South Africa.