The Indaba of Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) says the agricultural budget has declined by 25 percent due to the debt burden which is impacting on public spending.
IAPRI Associate Researcher Auckland Kuteya says the cost of servicing debt in 2020 is higher resulting in reductions in allocations directed to different sectors of the economy.
Mr. Kuteya asserts that what needs to be taken into account is “how to achieve more with less”.
Mr. Kuteya said, “the President His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has acknowledged that agriculture is threatened by climate change, it is for this reason that the budget seeks to look at key drivers of the economy.”
Currently, 97.9million has been allocated to extension services in order to support the adoption of climate smart agriculture practices.
Mr. Kuteya observes that there is need to re-think the timely release of funds to key drivers of the economy to effectively support and implement the key drivers of the economy. He noted that the delayed release of funds is an impediment to the implementation of activities.
He was speaking during a media breakfast budget analysis at Radisson Blu in Lusaka recently. The meeting drew stakeholders in the agricultural sector such as Millers Association of Zambia, Grain Traders Association, National Small-Scale farmers, Veterinary Association of Zambia, among others.
The budget analysis presentation comes in the wake of the budget presentation made by Finance Minister Dr Bwalya N’gandu in Parliament recently.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kuteya welcomes government’s restricting to purchase 300 strategic food reserves to avoid gobbling a lot of allocated funds.