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Sam Banda Junior
Zambia will from next year grant land to foreign investors for them to grow maize in an effort to improve agriculture. Finance Minister Musokotwane said awarding land to foreign investors would help improve agricultural production and curb food shortages. The country experienced maize shortfall this year.
The minister’s announcement also came in after farmers in the country said Zambia will have to import more maize because of the shortage of the commodity.

zambia mapMusokotwane who faces a big challenge to improve the country’s economy after taking over from Ng’andi Magande said they will open up to foreign investors.

He said the government would grant the foreign investors land in form of blocs for them to grow white maize for export to countries in Southern Africa.

The far blocs are expected to be split up for foreign and local farmers to grow cash crops, but the roll-out of the project has been hindered by delays in putting up infrastructure on the sites.

Maize is one of the staple foods in Southern African countries and is mainly grown in countries like Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“We will open up more land to investors in the coming year and more details will be issued at a later stage. There is plenty of room for everybody, we think we should do something in agriculture,” said the finance minister.

Musokotwane speaking to farmers on a familiarisation tour, said agriculture provided the best alternative to diversifying the economy.

Zambia has relied heavily on copper as one of the best producers however this has failed to generate more economy for the country.

According to a Reuters report, Zambia’s 2007/08 maize output was reduced to 1.2 million tonnes from 1.3 million the previous season due to floods in some areas.

Copyright Africa Interactive 2008