Vice-President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal has advised farmers in the southern highlands to increase production and cope with big farmers migrating from Zimbabwe to Zambia in recent years.
He said this yesterday at the Mbeya State Lodge during a meeting to conclude his three-day visit to the region.
He noted that the coming into Zambia of the big farmers could jeopardise the food market that the farmers in the region and other neighbouring regions had enjoyed for many years.
“Bear in mind that you are now facing a stiff competition from big farmers in neighbouring Zambia. It is important to improve production and ensure food security and quality," said Dr Bilal.
He noted that it was equally important to ensure the farmers added value to their crops instead of selling them raw as had always been the case.
Dr Bilal urged the farmers not to lose hope because of delays in obtaining agro-inputs but should rather form cooperative groups that would address the challenges they faced.
He promised to discuss the challenges facing them in the southern highland zone with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.
He said the agro-inputs should reach the farmers in time to ensure high production.
The vice-president has concluded his three-day visit to Mbeya region and went to Iringa region.