President Jacob Zuma, at the 91st Zambian Agricultural and Commercial Show, Lusaka, Zambia

President Jacob Zuma

Opening Address by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma, at the 91st Zambian Agricultural and Commercial Show, Lusaka, Zambia 05 August 2017

His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, 

Her Excellency Mrs Inonge Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia,

Honourable Cabinet Ministers

The President of the Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia,

Farmers and entrepreneurs,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen

 

I bring you warm fraternal greetings from South Africa. 

It is an honour and privilege to be invited by my dear Brother, President Lungu, to officially open such a prestigious occasion marking the ninety first edition of Zambia’s Agricultural and Commercial Show.   

This show has stood the test of time in the past 90 years of its existence and has earned a good reputation in the region because of its direct positive impact on agriculture, the economy and the lives of the people.   

The government and the coordinators of this year’s Show have done a sterling work in organising this important event.

A lot of work has been done to achieve this formidable outcome. I have been most impressed by the stalls set up by the various stakeholders, entrepreneurs and farmers showcasing their products, services and best practices.   

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone for a job well done. 

Mr President

This event is also of great significance towards promoting co-operation and economic integration not only for Zambia but for our region and the continent at large. It offers a conducive and a sustainable environment for economic exchanges nationally, regionally and internationally.  

The show contributes immensely to promoting agriculture in the region. Agriculture is the bedrock of the economy of the SADC region as a whole. About 80% of the people in the region depend on agriculture for income and employment. 

The performance of agriculture has a strong influence on food security, economic growth and stability of the SADC region.

As such, the focus on Agriculture remains high on the priority list and is of critical importance. 

We are all encouraged that the food security situation in Southern Africa has shown an overall improvement since the beginning of 2017 as compared to the previous years.  This positive result is due to good rainfall experienced towards the end of 2016.

 

Mr President

Considering the annual variations in food production in the region due to changing weather patterns, there is a need to review the work done on the establishment of a Regional Food Reserve Facility.   

This would provide SADC with a mechanism for preventing and preparing for adverse impacts and shocks to food security.

This is more important given the negative effects of climate change which poses a serious threat to agriculture and food security in the region. Climate change affects the three pillars of food security, namely food availability, food access and food safety and nutrition. 

Its impact on temperature and the increased frequency of drought and floods are detrimental to the development of the agricultural sector.

To this end, we recognise the important role of research in adaptation to climate change within SADC. 

Your Excellency,

The theme of this year’s show which is “Promoting a Green Economy” responds positively to the challenges of climate change.

This progressive theme takes into account the interdependence between economic growth, social protection and protecting the natural ecosystem. 

Our two countries share the concern and vision on matters of the environment and sustainable growth and should cooperate towards the development of capacity in green technologies and industries.   

Your Excellency,

Let me also point out that this agricultural show has relevance beyond Zambia given the importance of agriculture on the continent and its alignment with the AU Agenda 2063.

The development of Africa’s agriculture is managed under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.

I would like to reiterate that for agriculture to make a meaningful contribution to the achievement of the aspirations of Agenda 2063, a transformed and modernised agriculture, backed by adequate investments and technological support is imperative.

At the regional level, as we assume the leadership of SADC later this month, the theme for South Africa’s Chairship is “Partnering with the Private Sector in developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

In this regard, Agro-processing, Agribusiness and green industries are some of the priority areas that we shall be focusing on during our tenure. 

Promoting agriculture will thus be a key feature of tenure. We will highly rely on your support and that of the region to achieve these aspirations, Your Excellency. 

With regard to our bilateral relations on Agricultural cooperation, our two countries have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of agriculture in December 2009. 

It enables the two countries to share agricultural development experiences, capacity building and skills development programmes amongst other areas of cooperation. 

The scope of bilateral cooperation between our two countries remains much broader.  We have signed numerous bilateral agreements in various sectors and new ones are still under discussion.  

In the last meeting of the South Africa-Zambia Joint Commission for Cooperation held last year in December 2016, our two countries exchanged views on measures to further strengthen economic cooperation. We emphasised measures that will support economic growth and industrialisation which will promote job creation and regional economic integration. 

We need to utilise the existing platform of cooperation, our JCC, to build even stronger working ties.   

Mr President,

As the South African government, we have urged our private sector to participate in the economic growth of the region including Zambia.

We are thus pleased that the South African private sector has taken up the opportunity availed by this Agricultural and Commercial Show.   

Let me reiterate that while investing in the region, South Africa is also open for business and awaits partnerships from the Zambian and regional private sector.  

A number of South African companies continue to operate in Zambia principally in the mining, tourism, agriculture, and retail sectors.  

Ladies and gentlemen

Let me sincerely thank President Lungu and the people of Zambia for the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in Lusaka.  

Zambia is our second home. This country evokes a multitude of memories in me and many South Africans who spent many years of their exiled lives fighting the racist colonial apartheid system in South Africa.  

Many South African freedom fighters lie buried on Zambian soil, while many innocent Zambians lost their lives in the struggle for a free South Africa.    

Our two countries and peoples continue to be bound together by that shared history of solidarity and friendship during a most difficult time in our lives in South Africa.

 

This year 2017, marks the centenary celebrations of the life of the former President of the ANC, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo, who spent over two decades in exile here in Zambia.   

I would like to once again thank the government and the people of Zambia for honouring his life by declaring the house he lived in, a National Monument.   

This will remain one of the significant reminders of the permanent bonds between our two countries. 

Mr President,

I thank you once again for inviting me as your guest of honor at the opening ceremony of this august event in a sister country that is so close to our hearts as South Africans.  

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, 

It is my honour and privilege, to declare the 91st session of the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show open.

 

I thank you!!!

 

Issued by: The Presidency

Pretoria

www.thepresidency.gov.za