7 January 2013

Zambia: Oil Seed Crop Producers Cry for Incentives

OIL Seed Crop Producers Association has called on the Government to provide incentives to farmers now that there was an overwhelming demand for the commodity in the country.

Association vice-chairperson Mukampaaka Mwaanga said the Government should follow suit with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) which were now supporting farmers growing oil food crops because the sector was promising.

She said apart from human consumption, growing sectors such as stockfeed manufacturing, biofuels, and cosmetics have contributed to the high demand for oil crops in the country.

Ms Mwaanga said if the sector was supported, the small-scale farmers would be in a position to meet the national consumption of the lead oil food crops such as soya beans.

She said if given the necessary support small-scale farmers could be in a position to meet the country's need for 150,000 tonnes of soya beans, per annum.

"CAZ through, its crop diversification programme and the ZNFU Lime Credit scheme, are some of the initiatives which are now being undertaken to support soya beans farming in the country," she said.

Ms Mwaanga said the country could earn foreign exchange through the export of soya beans and jatropha now that they were trading at good prices both on the local and foreign markets.

Zambia is experiencing an increase in the demand for oil seed because more farmers were investing in livestock and poultry industry.

The agro-forestry initiative has also contributed to the increase of oil tree species.

Ms Mwaanga said Government should emulate CAZ and ZNFU who were creating awareness among small-scale farmers and lobbying the Government to include oil seed crops on the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP).

"The price is reasonable, especially for soya beans due to high demand and the country should benefit from this business opportunity," she said.

She said farmers who were producing crops were facing challenges such as the lack of adequate seed, poor extention services, unpredictable rainfall patterns in the country and poor market systems

She said Government should promote value addition skills and capacity building among oil crop producing small-scale farmers in the country.

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