Faced with a tumultuous marketing season, Zambian farmers are asking government to consider tax incentives for the agriculture sector.
“Giving tax incentives to farmers would translate into increased production and hedge against the threat of cheap imports,” said Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) President Jervis Zimba.
Zimba was giving ZNFU’s input in the 2018 budget to Finance Minister Felix Mutati. Mutati will unveil the budget on Friday.
“We are also appealing to government to do away with bureaucracy for the quick realization of the diversification programme,” Zimba said.
The Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) identifies agriculture as a key priority for improving farmers’ incomes through increased productivity, as well as increasing agricultural output to stimulate upstream and downstream supply chains.
Zimba said the strengthening of extension services and research – among other policy incentives – is vital in implementing 7NDP.
Zambia’s agricultural budget was doubled in 2017, receiving an allocation of K6.08 billion from K3.43 billion in 2016.
While public expenditure in agriculture increased over the years, stakeholders say efficiency and effectiveness can be improved. This is especially so for the administration of government’s Farmer Input Support Programme.
Speaking at the same event, Mutati said tax incentives for farmers must be compensational and tied to job creation.
“We will keep supporting farmers and embrace the issues raised by them,” Mutati said.