By MAILESI BANDA
GOVERNMENT must develop a policy for the fisheries subsector for it to attain optimal economic potential, says the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC)
PMRC executive director, Bernadette Deka says the fisheries sector need a policy that will not be part of the National Agriculture Policy since the sector was just developing.
Giving a policy analysis on the second National Agriculture Policy, Ms Deka said a fisheries policy will ensure that the unique challenges that the sector faces are addressed. She said the policy will ensure that the sector’s economic potential is fully realised.
“The government should consider developing a separate policy for the fisheries sector, this is the only way challenges the sector faces are going to be fully dealt with,” she said.
Ms. Deka also said the lack of investment in research and development, technology and weak extension services are key factors affecting productivity, adding that it is important for these areas to be given priority in the implementation of this new policy.
Ms. Deka urged Government to consider laying out measures to deregulate the output marketing through the Second NAP.
She explained that this will make the sector more efficient and save public resources used to cushion the effects of market distortions.
She said there is need for measures that will ultimately lead to full de-regulation of the maize market, save government resources and enhance production in the sub sectors of agriculture such as livestock and fisheries whose potential remains untapped and demand unmet by local producers.
Ms. Deka also advised that the government should incorporate the aspect of the Blue Economy in the NAP, as it has a bearing on the agriculture sector especially fisheries.