The aim of the EIF project was to raise awareness among state and non state actors on how they could participate in the EIF process so that there could be all inclusive policies. Under the same project, CUTS International sought to commission two research studies An assessment of the Zambian Diagnostic Trade Integrated Study whose objective was to make an assessment of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) in Zambia under the EIF and its relevance to building trade capacity and eventually leading to poverty reduction.
The other assignment A study on the rice value chain in Zambia was conducted with the objective of examining the importance of the rice industry in Zambia with regard to income generation through exports and employment creation.
CUTS International has been implementing a one year capacity building project on the EIF. The EIF is an initiative of six multilateral institutions namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to provide aid and technical assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Revelations form Zambia’s DTIS are that it acknowledges the enormous potential for Zambia to diversify its export base and accelerate national development. The DTIS also appreciates the need for capacity building among policy makers and CSOs on trade issues.
From CUTS assessment, it is also worth mentioning that there are also a number of grey areas in the DTIS which ought to be addresses. Although in Zambia we have been preaching about diversification which the study recognises, CUTS reviews that the study has ignored critical and potential areas of diversification which among others include livestock, honey, and services. Rice, cassava, and groundnuts have huge potential in the regional marked but they also have been omitted. Other areas which are not reflected in the DTIS include Intellectual Property Rights, Information and Communication Technology and gender mainstreaming and these are the most critical issues which are also being discussed at WTO level.
On the rice value chain study, firstly it’s worth recognising that rice has been identified as one of the most profitable smallholder cash crops in Zambia with potential to significantly contribute to increased incomes and employment creation among rural producers. It is with this backdrop that the value chain analysis arose from.
Realising the potential the rice sector holds for both consumption and employment, therefore, it is worth mentioning that there is need to put up measures that can boost this sector as it is faced with a number of constraints. What is needed is to expand the sector’s ability to expand in response to market opportunities. There is need to overcome the supply side constraints in the rice value chain as it is becoming a significant source of nutrition in Zambia and in the region among rural and urban consumers.
The With the dissemination workshop held today, we urge the policy makers and relevant authorities to follow up on the two studies’ recommendations so that DTIS and the rice value chain can be enhanced in order to benefit the common Zambian and help uplift them from abject poverty.
Finally, we wish to thank our partners such as the Finnish Embassy in Zambia for financing the two studies. We also wish to thank the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) for its partnership during the two studies.
Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International is a non-governmental organisation which works in such areas as trade and development, competition policy, investment regulation and consumer protection. CUTS Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC) was registered in Zambia as a non-governmental organisation in 2000. It is an affiliate of CUTS International based in India.