FARMERS in Livingstone have established an agro shop stocked with various farming implements aimed at empowering women growers in the tourist capital.
Livingstone District Commissioner Omer Munsanje, who officially launched the shop yesterday, said the Government supports women initiatives that were aimed at improving their livelihoods and fostering economic development.
Mr Munsanje said the efforts taken by women in the formation of the cooperative and agro-shop was an answer to Government's call to create sustainable measures to initiate projects aimed at creating more jobs and reduce poverty.
Mr Munsanje said Government would play a part in supporting such initiatives especially among women by way of ensuring that farmers acquire inputs at the right time.
"The effort taken by the women in this co-operative is therefore an answer to Government's call to create sustenance and mitigation measures to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and Government will play its part by supporting such initiatives aimed at job creation and poverty reduction especially among the women by way of ensuring that farmers acquire the inputs at the right time," he said.
Mr Munsanje said efforts by the private sector would go a long way in improving service delivery of inputs to small scale farmers.
And Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations (ZCSMBA) Livingstone Chairperson George Banda said the low levels of entrepreneurship skills and management competency had limited the ability of most associations to grow beyond the establishment phase.
Mr Banda said for the Livingstone farmers' cooperative to achieve sustainable qualitative growth, its members needed to be oriented towards good business skills and management.
He said the ZCSMBA in collaboration with Government would endeavor to improve Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) performance by creating an enabling environment for small businesses by providing guidance.
"ZCSMBA in collaboration with Government will endeavour to improve the SMES performance by creating an enabling environment for small businesses by providing the needed guidance and support to their respective business needs," Mr Banda said.
And Livingstone Farmers Cooperative chairperson Rwinick Mapanza said it was gratifying that women had come up with such an idea that needed to be supported by all.