The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) is incensed by the influx of cheap agricultural imports that have flooded the local market. This while an international survey showed multi-national supermarkets in southern Africa were stifling the growth of small-scale farmers.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba says cheap imports are hurting the local agriculture sector. “I’m appealing to government to restrict the importation of agro products that were produced locally,” Zimba says.
He says local producers, especially vegetable growers, are being squeezed out by multinational supermarkets.
“We now have chain supermarkets with imported subsidised tomatoes and onions. This is harming the growth of the local sector,” Zimba says. ZNFU’s position was strengthened by the fact that prices for tomatoes have plummeted by as much as K120 per 25 kg crate.
Furthermore, poultry farmers are making a case to remit poultry products and guarantee space in supermarkets for local produce. Government has not yet responded to ZNFU’s appeal to restrict certain imports.
Meanwhile research covering Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe shows big supermarkets are hindering the growth of small-scale farmers by denying them shelf space in stores in preference of subsidised imported produce.