Zambia’s spending on food imports is expected to grow astronomically, with the World Bank saying the country’s food demand will grow to US$25 billion over the next decade.
The bank said local farmers’ lack of capacity and understanding of market opportunities is exacerbating the cost of imports.
“We estimate that food demand in Zambia could grow more than three fold in the next 15 years, to over US$25 billion from the current US$8 billion. The demand will mostly be met through imports, but at great cost,” said Dahlia Khalifa, Practice Manager for South and Central Africa Trade, at the launch of Zambia Agribusiness and Trade Project (ZATP).
ZATP must strengthen Zambia’s competitiveness for agribusiness, a sector that consists of more than 90% of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Khalifa said the country must substitute imports with locally produced agro products. “Zambia must rise and embrace the opportunities that exist in the region to earn a fair share of the huge market,” she said.
The World Bank plays an increasingly supportive role in boosting productivity in the Zambian agriculture sector. This year, the bank will spend US$150 million to support its development.