Zambia’s on going quest to reduce its economy’s over dependence on copper exports, has greatly progressed as it is indeed quite evident by the US$3 million increase in exports from the horticulture sub-sector.
It is stated that the horticulture sub-sector generated export earnings totalling to US$12.69 million in 2020 as compared to another total of US$9.96 in 2019.
Communications and public relations manager Laura Hamusute of Zambia Development Agency, attributed the increase to upgraded transport and communications infrastructure, just to mention a few.
In response to a press query Mrs Hamusute stated that export earnings showed a 27% increase, and horticulture producers were able to utilise the internet in order to conduct research and make use of online services to market and also sell their produce online.
The horticulture subsector consists of commercial companies that grow fruits, fresh salads exotic flowers and garden plants for international exportation, while some small scale producers mainly grow vegetables for domestic or local consumption.
Products exported include blueberries, berries and fresh and chilled vegetables.
As mentioned by Mrs Hamusute, the main export markets of horticulture products consist of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, despite the subsector’s success there are a few constraints that need to be addressed in order to further boost the sectors capacity to produce such as issues that concern water shortages, funding, equipment and awareness of the subsector.
Horticulture is not the only economic activity that is contributing to the diversification of the economy from over dependence of copper mining, farmers have turned to farming cassava as it is stated that currently there are over 600,000 farmers across the country that are growing cassava.
This is so due to the growing need for cassava by players ranging from brewery, food processors among others and so cassava is indeed essential for diversifying and contributing to Zambia’s economy.
It is stated that US$6 million was allocated for the development cassava value chain in Mansa, Kasma and Solwezi with market extension in Lusaka.