Government has challenged stakeholders in the agriculture sector to boost agricultural products exports from about US$645 million last year to US$2 billion to build up on revenue to cushion the trade deficit.

Zambia’s trade deficit stands at about K6.2 billion, according to figures issued by Central Statistical Office recently. This is because the country has been importing more than its exports in value terms.

But Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said there is need for mindset change by farmers by ensuring that various agricultural products are exported to increase wealth and revenue generation for the country.

Ms Siliya said it is important for the private sector to play a crucial role in the investment decisions made in the agriculture sector as Government embarks on the economic recovery programme.

“Zambia has vast business potential and is capable of becoming the major exporter of various products, but there is need to increase productivity as well as to change the mindset of farmers.

“Let us set a target of Zambia producing US$2 billion worth of exports in the next four years. With the commitment of all of you, I am certain this target will be achievable. We must take greater advantage of the available opportunities to create a market for our products,” Ms Siliya said at the Agriculture Stakeholder’s Consultative meeting on Thursday.

She said Southern Africa has vast export market, “The phrase Zambia can be the breadbasket has been used frequently over the years, and that translating this statement into tangible action has remained elusive.

Ms Siliya is saddened that the country is still importing products that can be produced locally.