lungu; farmers; agriculture

Farmers could get preferential power tariffs – Lungu

President Edgar Lungu said government will consider preferential power tariffs for farmers. This follows an outcry by the Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) after the country’s power utility company ZESCO imposed a massive power hike of 75%.

Speaking on Tuesday, while he visited small and commercial farmers in Central Province, Lungu said the agricultural sector is a top priority for government and needs to be supported to ensure productivity. “We will look into the power tariffs to ensure a win-win situation for sector players,” Lungu said.

Stressing the importance of electricity being cost-reflective, he said it is in the interest of the country to support production-oriented sectors. Lungu also assured farmers that government will address other impediments to increased agricultural productivity.

“I’m aware that farmers are unhappy over policy shifts by government, and I would like to assure them that in some cases it is a matter of fostering a win-win situation for all sector players,” he said. Lungu also said he will engage stakeholders to address policy inconsistencies.

“I’m aware of the issues such as continued importation of vegetables, high bank lending rates and export duty on raw maize exports, and I think we should avoid these policy inconsistencies. That is what I and my colleagues in cabinet are working on so that we help the farmer grow,” he said.

On South African chain stores allegedly marginalizing local producers, Lungu said he is in talks with South African president Jacob Zuma to find common ground for both countries.

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