SUN BUSINESS writes
WORLD Bank has ranked Zambia third in Sub-Saharan Africa with regard to providing an enabling environment for agribusiness to thrive in the private sector.
According to the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA), 2019 report, Zambia on a scale of 0-100 scored above average overall for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and countries in a similar income group with an aggregate score of 63.73.
It indicates that Zambia scored particularly well in areas such as availability of seed, access to fertilisers, availability of water resources, plant protection and access to finance.
World Bank Group, Country Manager, Sahr Kpundeh, said at the EBA 2019 Report dissemination event that Zambia performs well in regulations related to supplying seed, registering fertiliser, securing water, and in accessing finance.
Dr Kpundeh, however, said there was room for improvement in regulations on protecting plant health, using machinery, trading food, and sustaining livestock.
He said the agricultural sector plays a critical role in the economy and was the largest employer in Zambia, creating opportunities for nearly 50 percent of the workforce.
Dr Kpundeh said the agriculture sector contributed to the economy at an estimated eight percent of GDP.
And Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Songowayo Zyambo, said Government was pleased with the score, and remained determined to facilitate more improvements in future.
Mr Zyambo said Zambia was aware that agricultural development could only be accelerated through private sector participation in value chains.
Mr Zyambo said with the publication of the report by the World Bank, the ministry would now have a benchmark and baseline, on which to measure the strength of its public and private sector engagement in the agriculture sector.
He called for continued partnership between government and cooperating partners to achieve the targets which had been set in the recently launched Economic Recovery Programme.
Mr Zyambo said Government was committed to supporting agribusinesses and the private sector, to ensure that they take a leading role in food production as well as the development of robust food supply chains.
EBA is a World Bank Group study highlighting unique data on regulations impacting agribusiness value chains and farmers in 101 countries.