Just weeks after the Zambian government banned importation of onions and potatoes, authorities have reversed the decision. The main reason for this U-turn is that shortages of these commodities are starting to bite. The original decision was reached as part of an attempt to boost local agricultural productivity, but now the Ministry of Agriculture says the country has to urgently import 10,000 tons of onions.
Zambian Fruit and Vegetable Traders Association president Bernard Sikunyongana commended the government for being responsive enough to review its decision. He said 10,000 tons of imported onions would be sufficient for three-months’ demand.
Former National Union for Small-Scale Farmers in Zambia director-general Dr Frank Kayula added that the government should find a way to balance imports and the need to boost local production. “[The] government shouldn’t have completely banned the importation but put restrictions on what is coming in, meaning that a quota will be allocated,” he told southerntimesafrica.com.