Following the release of a five-year program to reenergize the economy through diversification from traditional copper mining to diverse growth sectors, Zambia intends to more than double earnings from exports of the agriculture sector to US$2 billion by 2026.

The state wants to boost growth, add value to a variety of traditional products, and improve export profits from the present US$756.2 million realized at the end of 2021 under the 8th National Development Plan (2022–26).

According to the over K1 million blueprint unveiled by President Hakainde Hichilema dubbed: ” “Social Economic Transformation to Improve Livelihoods”, Zambia realises ten needs for a diversified economy to overturn economic losses incurred through climate change, debt overhang and COVID 19 among other factors and will industrialise to fulfil its growth prospects.

Increasing agricultural production and productivity, promoting mining of traditional and nontraditional minerals, promoting value addition and manufacturing, and promoting rural industrialisation as well as tourism. The Government will implement a number of strategies that are among key strategies for raising the country’s export profile.

Other areas to upscale to maintain growth in the period under review include enhancing management and productive use of water resources, promoting of irrigation, and raising the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

It seeks to extend diversification to other renewable as well as clean alternative energy sources, enhancing the management of petroleum products, improving transport and logistics, upscaling the provision of industry-relevant skills, investing in applied research and development, and enhancing digital capacity.

In collaboration with the private sector, efforts are underway to create an enabling environment for private sector growth in the agriculture sector by providing a stable trade policy with an emphasis on easing restrictions on exports of agricultural commodities and facilitating access to finance.

” A robust comprehensive agriculture support programme will be implemented beginning from the 2022/2023 farming season.

“The programme will encompass the provision of inputs through the electronic agro-input system to include extension service support, support for value addition, storage and logistics. Further, the programme will provide for better targeting and equity across beneficiaries. ” read the blueprint.

Tree crop production and irrigation development will also be promoted. To support increased production in the sector, research and development will be promoted, particularly in the development of improved varieties and breeds of crops including tree crops, livestock and fish.

To increase hectarage under production and enhance productivity, agricultural mechanisation will be promoted. The Government will also promote farm block development with a special focus on diversification of crops and expansion of the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors.

The farm block concept entails the creation of specialised agricultural production and processing zones. Resettlement schemes will also be developed as centres for agricultural production.

Interventions in fisheries will aim at promoting investments for increased fingerling production and establishing and operationalising fish breeding and freezing centres, as measures to bridge the domestic fish deficit and expand into the regional market.

Livestock production will be enhanced by establishing community-managed livestock service centres, provincial livestock insemination centres and veterinary laboratories.

The Government will also devolve veterinary services to improve efficiency in the livestock sub-sector. These interventions are expected to result in an agricultural growth rate of at least 10 percent per annum over the Plan period.

Over the same period, agricultural exports are also expected to increase to above US$2 billion by 2026 from US$756.2 million in 2021.

On 2 September, President Hakainde Hichilema launched the blueprint with a call for hard work to actualize its objectives. The plan presents the country’s ambitious but bold steps for the country’s social-economic development.

The blueprint marks the country’s medium-term blueprint to unlock the country’s potential in various sectors for sustainable, holistic and inclusive development.

“May we as a people of Zambia cherish the art of hard work. It is a necessary ingredient to achieve success,” he said.

The Government envisions that the macroeconomic objectives set in the 105-page plan are projected to place the economy on a higher growth trajectory.

The vision is premised on restricting fiscal deficit, enhancing domestic revenue mobilization, and addressing and curtailing the accumulation of domestic arrears.

The plan was anchored on key measures targeted at addressing the debt problem, providing free education, scaling up social safety nets and taking service delivery and resources to the people.

Earlier, finance minister  Situmbeko Musokotwane described the plan as a strategic direction setting development priorities and implementing of strategies that will play a pivotal role as building blocks toward the attainment of the national vision.