Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Mon 31 May 2010, 20:00 CAT
A SOLWEZI-based ginger farmer has observed that Zambia can earn reasonable foreign exchange from ginger exports if more farmers are encouraged to grow the crop. And a quail farmer has said there is huge potential for growth in the poultry industry in Zambia.
David Umba, an exhibitor at the just-ended Copperbelt Mining Agricultural and Commercial Show, said ginger had the potential of bringing in foreign exchange to the country.
Umba said there was a huge market for ginger nowadays especially that more people were beginning to appreciate herbal remedies.
He explained that ginger was a good crop that not only helped people overcome ailments such as coughs and colds but that it also helped in the management of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
“And I think there is need for the government to sensitise people on how ginger can help them in terms of their health,” he said.
Umba advised the government to set up a ginger processing plant where things such as ginger tingling beer could be made.
“There are a lot of things that ginger can be used for. If there is a processing plant in place, we can process tingling ginger beer. As you know we can also make ginger biscuits,” Umba said.
He encouraged farmers especially those in high rainfall areas to consider venturing into ginger farming, which he said fared well in high rainfall areas in addition to having a huge market.
However, Umba cautioned farmers against focusing on growing cash crops at the expense of the staple foods such as maize.
He observed that certain farmers in his area had been concentrating on growing cash crops and this had led to yearly shortages of the staple food thereby warranting donation of relief food.
“I would encourage small scale farmers to grow crops like ginger which can help them pay their children’s school fees and other needs but this should not be done at the expense of maize. Maize is always a priority because it is our staple food,” said Umba.
And Morton Shanzi, a quail farmer, said the market for quails was coming up very well.
He said people were eager to try out new foods and the market for quails was steadily rising.
Shanzi encouraged poultry farmers keeping chickens to also venture into quail farming, saying that it was easier to breed quails than chickens.
“There is no need to buy so many chemicals like they do when keeping broilers,” said Shanzi.