A Simple Lesson In Food Inflation For Mr. Lungu
Having followed President Edgar Lungu’s rantings last weekend at the half empty Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, we want to fully educate President Lungu on our 10 Point Plan for Zambia. He has blamed global factors for leaving him helpless on the economy in the past and now President Edgar Lungu appears to be trying to shift the blame for rising food prices onto me. His habit of blaming everyone but himself and refusal to take any responsibility shows a complete lack of leadership on his part. In this case he has also revealed his limited understanding of basic economics.
A farmer, or indeed any business person, including those running bars and taverns in Chawama, cannot just magically lower their prices overnight without taking into account many other factors. Prices are determined by many factors, notably the cost of production. If we take mealie meal for example, the answer to lower prices is not simply for one farmer or miller to offer to sell their mealie meal for a lower price, or even at a loss, as that would lead to bankruptcy and eventually company closures and job losses. The answer is to reduce the cost of production and increase productivity, so that for every kilogram of maize one is harvesting it costs less. Today the cost of doing business in Zambia is too high, whether in farming, mining, tourism or any other sector. This has to change if we are going to increase productivity, create jobs and lower food prices. That is why both increasing business competitiveness and supporting farmers to increase their productivity are part of the UPND 10 Point Plan.
To bring food prices down we will work to lower the cost of farming inputs such as fertiliser and seeds by negotiating better deals with suppliers that are corruption free, as well as by providing fair tax incentives in the sector. At the same time, we will invest in extension services, for example to help lower the cost of beef there should be investment in veterinary services, which are currently not available, under Lungu’s failed leadership the cost of vaccines and drugs have skyrocketed.
Come 11th August 2016 this country needs to vote in a government that is informed, that knows what has to be done and that is willing to take on the responsibility of leadership.