THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has said poor state of the rail network, roads and storage facilities are some of the challenges threatening the country's food security and has called for more investments in supportive infrastructure.
ZNFU Director Commodities, Eveline Nguleka said the infrastructure challenges were pushing up the cost of commodities and it was important for Government and the cooperating partners to invest resources towards agriculture supportive infrastructure.
She said the country's failure to have a reliable transport system linking the production sites to the markets and storage areas was a danger to Zambia's food security despite the availability of abundant resources.
"Underdeveloped markets for agriculture products poor road and rail networks have to some extent contributed to the high transport costs for farm produce. Poor feeder road networks, storage facilities and livestock diseases control infrastructure need attention.
"ZNFU strongly believes that investment in road infrastructure linking the production sites to the markets will help address this problem. Government and its partners should channel resources towards key agriculture supportive infrastructure.
She said food security would not be attained if post harvest losses were not quickly addressed at both production sites and transportation stages.
Attention needed to be directed towards rural set up of agro-processing as this would create jobs, address rural urban migration as well as challenges of income inequalities, a factor she said had contributed to poor human development especially in rural areas.
She said that sub-Saharan Africa had abundant resources which could support the growth and revolutionalise the agriculture sector but unfortunately, major parts of the region were still hunger-stricken.
She said with the correct allocation of resources, Zambia and the entire region could attain food security sustainably at all levels and turn around agricultural productivity and urged other countries in the region to make correct priorities.
He added that Government's stance to favour consumption than production was dentrimental to the long term and sustainable development of the agriculture sector.