The Japanese Government has pledged to pump in US$30 million this year in the agriculture, education and health sectors.
Japan’s Ambassador to Zambia Koishi Koinuma says he is happy with Zambia’s government economic policies.
Mr. Koinuma was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Nkeyema district in Western Province shortly after touring the US$ 6.3 million Japanese run agro-farm, Rosewood plant by Japan Tobacco International (JTI).
Mr. Koinuma disclosed that his government will consider increasing funding to Zambia next year.
He said his government is assisting farmers to grow tobacco in Nkeyema and Kaoma districts as well as a rice plantation at Namushakende in Mongu.
JTI is also supporting small scale farmers to grow tobacco in Chipata in Eastern province.
He expressed gratitude that JTI is making a real difference in the lives of the people in western province.
“I am proud of the work that JTI is doing in the community and that of being a partner to the Zambian government in contributing to the national development objectives,” the Japanese envoy said.
Mr. Koinuma is further happy that JTI has created jobs to the local people not only in Western Province but the rest of the nine provinces as well.
He was accompanied to Western Province by Second Secretary Mr. Hiroyasu Kirioka and JTI Director of Operations in Zambia Mike Roach, JTI Leaf Production Manager Lars Gruner and other senior officials.
And The Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which is an agro-company in Zambia, has through its afforestation project planted one million trees in Nkeyema district in Western province.
JTI Director of Operations in Zambia Mike Roach said his organization was extremely concerned with the rate of deforestation in the country.
Mr. Roach observed that tobacco growing also diminishes the natural resources such as trees during curing stage hence JTI decided to plant more trees.
In a press statement released to ZANIS yesterday, Mr. Roach said the trees will be planted in Kangologolo and TBZ areas in Nkeyema district.
He said that the main aim of the afforestation project was to ensure that JTI farmers use their own planted trees to cure tobacco by 2018.
“In our afforestation project, one million trees have been planted by JTI farmers in order to replenish trees that are being used in curing tobacco,” he said.
Mr. Roach further disclosed that a similar project will be embarked on in Chipata district in Eastern province where JTI is also supporting small scale farmers in growing barley tobacco.
He has since commended the Zambian government for collaborating with JTI in order to help the local farmers who support their business.
“The collaboration between the government, JTI and the local people we serve allows us collectively to respond to the needs of the people who support our business,” Mr. Roach said.
And JTI Leaf Production Manager Lars Gruner disclosed that the afforestation project will help to save trees by using less firewood when curing tobacco.
Mr. Gruner said the curing process requires 30 kilograms of firewood in the kilning barn programme hence the afforestation project.
He said the afforestation was a long-term project which is aimed at changing the mindset of small scale tobacco farmers.