President Edgar Lungu has reiterated that the country’s economic prospects will rebound next year following the gains attained under the diversification agenda.
President Lungu cited the Agriculture, Mining and Tourism sectors as among notable areas that are giving clear indication of the economic recovery and food security.
The Head of State indicated that away from maize production, from 2016 more farmer are increasingly taking up the growing of other cash crops such as cassava, tobacco, soya beans, Irish potatoes and sorghum among others.
President Lungu vehemently said the Agriculture sector has performed well as it has recorded an increase in the production of major crops such as maize from 2.8 million metric tons to 3.4 million metric tons in 2020 guaranteeing national food security.
The Republican President said this during the opening of the 5th session of the 12th National Assembly in Lusaka today.
“In 2016, I announced to this August house that government would prioritize investment in agriculture development for our economic diversification agenda. I am pleased to inform the house that the agriculture sector has performed well as the production of major crops has been increasing over the years. For instance, maize production increased from 2.8 million metric tons in 2016 to 3.4 million metric tons in 2020.
“Since 2016, more of our farmers are increasingly taking up the growing of other cash crops such as sorghum, cassava, rice, groundnuts, tobacco, soya beans, mixed beans, Irish potatoes, paprika and cashew nuts,” said President Lungu.
The President who poured tribute to farmers for diversifying from growing maize to other high value crops, said the move has not only translated into improved national food security but also increased incomes for farmers and other players in the agricultural value chains.
In spite of the wake of the COVID-19, President Lungu explained that government will ensure that there is no disruption in agriculture production, national food security and food supply chains and all agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, seed and agro-chemicals will reach farmers before the onset of the rainy season.
In the aquaculture Agriculture sub-sector, President Lungu pointed out that the implementation of the Zambia aquaculture enterprise development project worth $51 million is progressing as it is contributing to rural industrialization, economic diversification and job creation in all the ten provinces.
President Lungu said government will also continue promoting diversification within the mining sector by exploiting other minerals in addition to copper.
“Nickel production also increased from 817 metric tons in 2019 to 3,394 metric tons over the same period in 2020. A significant increase of 77.6 percent was also recorded in manganese production. It increased from 10,431 metric tons in 2019 to 18,530 metric tons in 2020,” he emphasized.
President Lungu reaffirmed that gold mining remains strategic to the economic diversification and job creation agenda.
Moreover, President Lungu noted that in an effort to diversify the economy and create jobs, tourism remains one of the key sectors.
The Head of State pointed out that during the period under review the tourism sector contributed 2.5 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“During the period under review, the tourism sector contributed an average of 2.5 percent to the gross domestic product. The sector, however, has been the most affected by the covid-19 pandemic due to its over-reliance on foreign tourists. In the first half of this year, the wildlife subsector alone lost an estimated 90 million united states dollars and 7,072 jobs,” the republican president said.
President Lungu further said current projections are that the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product will be less than one percent this year.