Tomato price dynamics (Part 2)
Published On August 13, 2022 » 1457 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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The past weeks have been characterised by a series of events and occurrences that have ignited debate from different circles.
From the teacher recruitment to health workers and later the recruitment of the census enumerators.
As if that was not good enough, the public transport fare reduction and further the reduction in tomato prices on both the open and supper markets.
What is of more concern to me about all these issues is seeing the worrying number of youthful applicants that turned out for recruitment of the census enumerators.
The number of applicants was overwhelming.
A small segment was luckily picked and many more left frustrated and depressed.
I am sure social workers like myself, including psychosocial counselors and psychiatrists, would agree with me that this situation calls for concern.
This in itself reminds me as well as our Government of the day that as a country, we still have a big social and economic problem.
This problem is youth unemployment.
A lot of youths out there have been trained in different fields from various colleges and universities to be employed.
A large number of both trained and untrained youths in our country are unemployed because the number of employers has been overtaken by the number of would-be employees.
It is unfortunate that very few of our students are trained to employ either themselves, others or both.
With this reason, most youths, school leavers and graduates do not find value in self-employment because they are not confident about it and do not have trust that it can give them the much needed social and economic independence.
From this scenario, it is important to realise that the Government cannot manage to provide formal employment to everyone who needs a job, especially the youths.
It is high time we worked with the Government in realising the important role of the private sector, including the small and medium scale entrepreneurs in combating the problem of youth unemployment.
Teachers have been recruited and health workers too.
But the communities still have countless numbers of youths looking for employment.
It is time that we, the stakeholders, working with the Government, started to practically push for the agenda of self-employment by actively supporting and building capacity of entrepreneurs, from small to medium and large scale.
Those who have been following President Hakainde Hichilema might have heard him say the private sector has limitless potential to create jobs.
Agriculture alone can keep on employing people in crop and livestock production, aquaculture, food processing and other aspects of value addition.
By building the capacity of entrepreneurs, a number of unemployed youths will be actively absorbed by the private sector too.
This will contribute to the efforts of the Government to reduce the levels of unemployment.
I’m also of the strong view that colleges and universities should also include aspects that make their students useful in creating jobs rather than just getting employed after their graduation.
However, being farmers and enterprenuers, our article will not end without us talking about the tomato price drop and debates around this issue.
Remember, we discussed issues related to tomato price dynamics in the last two episodes.
As farmers, our hope depends on the promises of God Almighty who assures us that after difficulties come victory.
This promise is attainable by those who believe, have trust, are focused, determined and patient. In the same manner, as farmers, if we believe, have trust in our farming business, remain focused, determined and patient during these frustrating moments, we shall definitely see the brighter days that are coming.
Small and medium scale farmers should also prepare themselves for such challenges as every business has risks and challenges.
Having a risk reduction plan for your business is paramount to your success in most circumstances.
I feel delighted that as Zambian farmers, we have worked tirelessly until we have satisfied demand for tomatoes on both the local and foreign markets.
As contrary to the press release of August 8, 2022, for the ZNFU that placed more caution and issued warnings on the so called few large scale farmers for what was referred to as dumping.
To say they are serving the interests of small and medium scale farmer, I guess the ZNFU is for all farmers and, therefore, it looks out for and on behalf of the farmers plight at all levels.
If it was me who was placed in a position of influence like that, I would rather groom the small and medium scale farmers in terms of their capacity to begin understanding their business dynamics and developing risk reduction plans and how best they can make their products competitive on the market to ensure their continued existence and business operations sustainably.
To those who started from small to medium and now labelled as large scale farmers, I would not advise them to reduce production rate of supplying the market.
Instead, I would recommend for them to continue with their efforts and hard work being exhibited because they have some inspirational stories being looked out for by many young farmers out there.
In a nut shell, those commercial farmers are the ones who inspire the young men and women.
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