Zambia National Farmers’ Union president Jervis Zimba has called for investigations into the increased issuance of import permits for processed meats and meat products in disregard of the local livestock sector.
Mr. Zimba, in a statement issued today, has said ZNFU is saddened that a wide array of processed meats such as polony, bacon, smoked sausages and even fish from as far as Portugal, Mexico and Brazil were finding their way in some of multinational shopping outlets.
“Allowing the importation of processed meat and other meat products goes against our resolve to protect our domestic value chains against cheaply imported products which is a signal that something is very wrong. It is inconceivable to land these products cheaper in Zambia than our very own locally produced products. The subsidies extended to primary producers at source is the main cause of this uneven playing field, thereby hindering growth of the domestic livestock industry,” Mr Zimba explained.
He stated that the meat imports were putting ZNFU in an awkward position as it is now difficult for the union to emphasise the importance of the livestock industry as a source of livelihood and the country’s diversification agenda.
“For as long as we continue approaching extremely important national agricultural issues such as putting a lid on needless imports in a nonchalant manner, we should forget about diversification; and about being the regional agriculture hub,” Mr Zimba stated.
He stated that the country continued to have individuals that were not supportive of the growth of the local agriculture industry.
“For it is clear from the way the issuance of import permits have been conducted that such offices have their hearts elsewhere. It is not rocket science that with continued imports of processed meats and meat products, we are creating jobs in countries where these products are coming from. And, the much-needed foreign exchange will continue being flighted to countries whose products we keep promoting thus aggravating further currency depreciation,” Mr Zimba stated.
He observed that imports of meat products would lead to the loss of investments in the livestock sector, “which we have painstakingly grown over the years”.
“ZNFU is not promoting protectionism, but how can we allow processed meats and meat products that we can ably produce, to land on our markets and disadvantage our own products and sector? This requires thorough investigations,” he stated.
The Union has appealed to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to quickly arrest this situation before the country loses the local livestock sector to unfair foreign competition.
“We are ready to share a platform with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock by conducting a tour of these multinational outlets selling cheaply imported processed meats and meat products at low prices,” stated Mr. Zimba.
News source: Zambia Reports