Farmers in chieftainess Kalaba’s area in Mansa have said they have suspended planting there maize seed because they fear the crop might be damaged by stray goats and pigs.
A 59-year-old farmer Astridah Chiputa said goats and pigs have become a nuisance to farming activities because the owners of the livestock are not willing to quarantine the animals.
Ms. Chiputa, who is a secretary to a nutrition group that benefited from a donation of fertilizer and maize seed by the first lady Thandiwe Banda, said the group is reluctant to start preparing the land and plant the crop because the pigs and goats may destroy it.
She said the owners of the livestock are refusing to quarantine the animals taking advantage of the absence of the chief who is not in the area.
“We are 16 in our group and each received two bags of fertilizer and maize so that we could feed the orphaned children, but we are scared to go ahead and plant the crop in our field just close to the village because of the stray pigs and goats,” Ms Chiputa said.
And a pastor with a local church also confirmed the fears of planting in the area due to the stray animals.
“We are 16 in our group and each received two bags of fertilizer and maize so that we could feed the orphaned children, but we are scared to go ahead and plant the crop in our field just close to the village because of the stray pigs and goats,” Ms Chiputa said
Pastor for Lord’s Way Pentecostal Church Raphael Mumba told ZANIS in in Kalaba yesterday that despite the area receiving early rains he has not been able to plant his maize for fear of goats and pigs that might destroy the crop.
Pastor Mumba said goats and pigs are always let out of quarantine immediately after harvest of the previous crop, but they are returned to quarantine shortly after upon the instruction of the chief.
However, he said the owners of the goats and pigs have not cared to put their livestock back into quarantine taking advantage of the absence of chieftainess Kalaba, who is reportedly in Lusaka receiving medical attention.
“The goats and pigs have been on the loose for six months now. The chief is not around to address the problem, and when we complain to the owners they are not heeding our cry,” Pastor Mumba said.
He said the goats and pigs are also posing a health hazard to the local community as they are also drinking from the same water point on Lule River where people are drawing water for drinking.
“The problem of the pigs and goats is not just agriculture, but we are also facing a health hazard because these animals are drinking from the same river point where people draw their water,” he added.
Both Ms Chiputa and Pastor Mumba said if nothing is done to address the problem of the stray pigs and goats agriculture activities might be adversely affected and threaten food security in the area.
[ ZANIS ]