SPEECH BY MUSIKA MANAGING DIRECTOR, MR REUBEN BANDA, DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE CHEMICAL SAFETY CAPACITY BUILDING AND CERTIFICATION OF AGRODEALERS INTERVENTION BY ZEMA AND CROPLIFE ZAMBIA  

MONDAY 31ST AUGUST, 2015 AT LA HACIENDA HOTEL, LUSAKA

-       THE ACTING DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR ZEMA – MAXWELL NKOYA

-       THE COORDINATOR FOR CROPLIFE ZAMBIA – MR PERRY NGOMA

-       WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS

-       MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

-       DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I AM DELIGHTED TO BE HERE THIS MORNING TO WITNESS THE FIRST TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR AGRO-DEALERS UNDER THE CHEMICAL SAFETY CAPACITY BUILDING AND CERTIFICATION INTERVENTION – AND MORE SO BECAUSE IT KICK-STARTS A SERIES OF TRAINING PROGRAMS AROUND THE COUNTRY FOR OVER 350 AGRO-DEALERS, AND ALSO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INFORMATION DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES ON ‘SAFE USE’ OF AGROCHEMICALS TARGETED AT THE LOWER END OF THE MARKET.

A LOT OF WORK HAS BEEN DONE OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS BY THE ZAMBIA ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AGENCY (ZEMA), CROPLIFE ZAMBIA AND OURSELVES TO REACH THIS FAR. SO I AM GLAD THAT WE ARE MAKING STEADY PROGRESS TOWARDS REACHING OUR ULTIMATE GOAL OF CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MORE FORMALISED, STRUCTURED, AND REGULATED AGROCHEMICAL SECTOR IN ZAMBIA.  

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION THAT STIMULATES AND SUPPORTS PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET, THIS INTERVENTION IS PART OF OUR EFFORT TOWARDS INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AS WE DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT VARIOUS INTERVENTIONS WITH OUR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS.

WITH OUR SUPPORT, OVER 50 PRIVATE COMPANIES HAVE DEVELOPED BUSINESS MODELS THAT HAVE ENABLED SMALLHOLDERS TO AFFORD AND ADOPT PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCING TECHNOLOGIES IN ORDER TO INCREASE EFFICIENCY, REDUCE COSTS AND INCREASE YIELDS - AND AT THE END OF THE DAY TO PROFIT FROM THEIR FARMING ACTIVITIES. BUT AS WE DO THIS, WE ENSURE THAT RISKS TO THE NATURAL AND HUMAN ENVIRONMENT ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMMERCIALISATION OF AGRICULTURE ARE MITIGATED TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE.

AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, OUR STRATEGIC FOCUS UNDER THE INPUT MARKET IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DYNAMIC ‘LAST MILE’ DISTRIBUTION NETWORK FOR SEED, FERTILISER, FARM EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING AGROCHEMICALS, ACCOMPANIED WITH PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE. TO DATE, WE HAVE SUPPORTED OVER TWENTY FIRMS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED APPROXIMATELY 1,300 SALES POINTS IN THE RURAL AREAS AND ARE PROVIDING PRODUCTS AND EXTENSION SERVICES AT THE FARMER’S DOORSTEP, BENEFITTING OVER 109,000 SMALLHOLDER FARMERS, COUNTRYWIDE.  

BUT AS THE DEMAND AND USAGE OF PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCING TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS AGROCHEMICALS CONTINUES TO RISE AMONG RURAL COMMUNITIES, IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO MITIGATE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THESE ON HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT. THIS CALLS FOR CONCERTED EFFORTS BETWEEN KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN BOTH THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTOR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THIS PARTNERSHIP WITH ZEMA - BEING A STATUTORY BODY THAT HAS BOTH CAPACITY BUILDING AND ENFORCEMENT MANDATES IN THE FIELD OF AGROCHEMICAL IMPORT, HANDLING AND DISTRIBUTION, TOGETHER WITH CROPLIFE ZAMBIA - WHICH IS REPRESENTING THE AGROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY - COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME THAN THIS. AS MUSIKA, WE INTEND TO COMPLETE THE CYCLE THROUGH AN ADDITIONAL INTERVENTION ON DISPOSAL MANAGEMENT WHICH INCLUDES RECYCLING OF EMPTY AGROCHEMICAL CONTAINERS. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT THESE INTERVENTIONS WILL ACHIEVE THE DESIRED IMPACT.

AS I CONCLUDE, I JUST WANT TO URGE YOU THE PARTICIPANTS, TO PASS ON WHATEVER YOU’LL LEARN, ESPECIALLY ON ‘SAFE USE’ OF AGROCHEMICALS, TO YOUR CLIENTS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THEIR HEALTH AND THAT OF THE ENVIRONMENT. REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE ALSO BEEN CHOSEN AS AMBASSADORS IN YOUR COMMUNITIES TO ENCOURAGE FELLOW AGRO-DEALERS TO HAVE THEIR BUSINESSES REGISTERED AND CERTIFIED SO THAT YOU CAN COLLECTIVELY BENEFIT FROM A MORE TRANSPARENT AND ORGANISED AGROCHEMICAL SECTOR.

SPECIAL THANKS GO TO THE MANAGEMENT TEAMS OF ZEMA AND CROPLIFE ZAMBIA FOR YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND DETERMINATION TO MAKE THIS PROJECT A SUCCESS. I WOULD LIKE TO PLEDGE MY SUPPORT AND THAT OF THE MUSIKA TEAM AS YOU IMPLEMENT THIS PROJECT. I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!