FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has said Government is targeting to accelerate diversified agriculture development in Western Province by focusing on fish, cashew and rice farming.
The minister was speaking during a high level economic exchange dialogue with Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta in Lusaka yesterday.
“The people of Western Province are very hard working and resourceful which is why we want the community development plans under your leadership to succeed by giving you the necessary logistical support,” he said.
According to a statement released by Ministry of Finance public relations officer Chileshe Kandeta, Mr Chikwanda also congratulated the Senior Chief for his appointments as a Board Member of Peace Parks International and for establishing the Inyambo Development Trust.
He stated that the initiative to create the Inyambo Development Trust had exemplified Senior Chief Inyambo Yetas’ vision, passion and commitment to development in Zambia.
“Economic exchange dialogues such this one, cement relations across the width and breadth of the country, and facilitate performance benchmarking, as success in one part has a positive social demonstration effect on other parts of Zambia,” eulogized Mr. Chikwanda.
The Minister commended the Barotse Royal Establishment for the visionary leadership which had resulted in the setting-up of sustainable community development projects in Mwandi and Sesheke Districts, by Senior Chief Yeta.
“This is a good coincidence because a few days ago I was in Chilubi Island where a project for cage fish farming is being piloted, going forward, Zambians should not behave as if development will last a fortnight but aim at sustainable approaches which have the potential for large scale production, employment, and wealth creation.
“We shall forever remain indebted to your unitary and visionary leadership not only for the development of western province, but the nation at large,” Mr Chikwanda said.
The Senior Chief described Sesheke and Mwandi Districts in Western Province as tourist destinations key components to Livingstone, the co-host city of the United Nations Word Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly.
He disclosed that a joint programme called SIMALAHA Community Conservancy has been introduced in partnership with Chief Sikute to create a wildlife park aimed at empowering the local people through shared community wildlife resources.
“We are in the process of producing an integrated tourism product that is going to attract tourists and create opportunities for wealth creation for our people. In fact the Zambian Government, through the Minister of Tourism [Sylvia Masebo] has already granted authority for ZAWA to supply seed animals to the conservancy,” said Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta.
SIMALAHA Community Conservancy is located on an important eco-tourism corridor and is part of the larger Kavango – Zambezi (KAZA) Trans Frontier.
The Chief revealed that most community based projects under his chiefdom in Mwandi and Sesheke Districts were being spearheaded by the Inyambo Development Trust to foster transparency and accountability.
He said the Zambian Government had helped the Trust by supporting projects like the Mwandi Cultural Center; work in progress aimed at constructing a pavilion at which, once completed, numerous artifacts, pictures, carvings, basketry, performing arts, and other ancient valuables will be displayed to visitors and tourists.
“We are also in the process of establishing the 5 Star Mwandi Royal Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River and rehabilitating the Silowana [Sioma] National Park, which project the Government has engaged peace parks foundation to ensure a sustained rehabilitation and wildlife restocking programme,” said Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta.
“The Inyambo Development Trust has also embarked on a fish restocking programme to curb nomadic and excessive fishing,” he said.
He disclosed that the Inyambo Development Trust had received support from cooperating partners to construct a fish farm which had the potential to produce six hundred thousand [600, 000] pure breed fish fingerings, per annum.
“Through this programme, we are able to provide 27 tons of fish protein per annum at competitive prices. Our objective is to construct more dams so that we flood the Zambian market with pure breed bream fish fingerings,” he said.