PICK ‘n’ Pay Zambia has pledged to continue supporting local farmers by creating a market for local farm produce. And Luanshya Mayor Nathan Chanda has clinched a deal for small-scale local farmers to supply their produce to Pick ‘n’ Pay. Pick ‘n’ Pay managing director Lucus Houben said his desire is to make affordable prices of commodities.
“We want to make our prices very affordable. The future for us is very exciting here on the Copperbelt. We are looking for ways to expand our outlets. Our future is bright. We will ensure that we buy local farmers’ produce, we get even from the back yards gardens,” Mr Houben said. Mr Houben said the chain store will soon start a programme that will encourage graduates from universities countrywide to venture into retailing with the chain store. And Mr Chanda said the programme will first start with Luanshya and will see local farmers supply local products such as tomatoes and other fresh vegetables.
Mr Chanda expressed gratitude over the positive response from Pick ‘n’ Pay adding that the programme will empower women and youths who are a majority in farming through the cooperatives in Luanshya. He was speaking when Mr Houben paid a courtesy call on the Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe during the week. He further thanked President Edgar Lungu for emphasising on diversification as stated in the Seventh National Development Plan. “We have depended much on copper which is a diminishing asset. This gesture has come at the right time when the government is talking about diversification,” Mr Mwakalombe said.
And Mr Mwakalombe said he is happy the chain store is supporting Government’s efforts to have mealie meal sold at affordable prices. “We value the space that you have taken in our economy…the prices of mealie meal in your chain store are reasonable as we are faced with mealie meal challenges now,” Mr Mwakalombe said. He said Government had put in some serious measures to curtail smuggling.