KAYPRO Research Institute, a local Agro-based company, has urged the government to be cautious about onion imports in order to avoid undermining the market for local products.
According to KAYPRO Research Institute Director Frank Kayula, the country can grow enough onions to suit local demand, but the importation of cheaper onions may alter the market price of the item, which may not be favourable to local farmers due to high production costs.
Dr Kayula noted with concern the need for the ministry of Agriculture and food security to do a grass root assessment with farmer organizations and the farmers themselves on how much onion is being produced and the local demand of the commodity.
“It is not fair for the farmers to produce the onions and yet there is so much which is imported into the country from South Africa,” he said.
He said the government through the ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has Extension Officers who look at the availability of the food and it is high time that they are put to good use before the country starts importing the commodity.
“We have plenty of onions which are produced by the farmers in the country to meet the local demand,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kayula has attributed the rise of the commodity to high demand and low supply of the commodity.
He highlighted the rapid depression of the kwacha as one of the reasons for an increase in the price of the onions on the market.
KAYPRO Research Institute Director said government should instead start regulating the sale of the commodity by the farmers so that they do not exploit the consumers.
However, a local trader at City Market Beatrice Muwowo has noted a reduction in the price of the commodity.
“We are happy that we are now buying onions at a cheaper price than it was when the importation of the commodity was banned,” she said.