I may not have all the answers to our complex Zambian agriculture marketing problems. But I would like to suggest that if we seriously want agriculture to be the main drive for our economy, which has a lot of potential in our country, we should learn from other countries what they have done for years and they are still doing today and its working for them.
In saying this I have New Zealand in mind, it thrives on agriculture as the main drive for their economy . I currently away in Auckland for a short visit to Hamilton and Friday with my host we took a drive in the Waikato area.
We went to places like Matamata, Cambridge, sorry I have forgotten the third place, but they are all in the same area. But what I noticed was that almost every kilometer there was a huge Dairy company or processing plant with fantastic modern equipment with a fleet of trucks.
Without exaggeration not less than 20 which I saw at every deport, again the shock was the huge companies were dotted all over the same area away from each other in a radius of about a kilometer or less, and as a Zambian I asked what about competition? My host asked what competition? They are providing jobs to people living near by so that people do not have to go far to look for jobs, which I thought makes sense. A farmer here does not worry much. Just to give an example, the collection of milk from diary farms is not his job as his job is to make sure he milks the cows, at the right time and places it in containers, the Dairy company truck comes on time to collect the milk, they weigh and cost it and immediately, by way of bank transfer, money is electronically transferred into that farmers account without any pending payments.
When the product reaches the plant its processed immediately for sale or export.
As a result, some farmers have their children employed to specialized in just diary products. I can assure, you have to take a tour for you to make sense and I am not lying.
But then I was so touched when I thought of the many Zambian farmers who are trying hard to feed their families, they produce the product, then they have to worry about storage and transportation, then they sale their product but payments are delayed, its crazy.
However am optimistic that all this craziness will end one-day if we invest in education and bring up children who are going to change this country for better.
The current problem now is that we have a situation where people are put in office and concentrate on self-preservation at the expense of saving people.
Most of our leaders are so selfish that they spend half the time trying to find what they can do after they leave office than concentrating on serving the people, that is why on an average our performance as a country is low