President Edgar Lungu has assured the nation that government has put in place measures to ensure that adequate maize stocks are secured to guarantee both household and national food security.
And President Lungu has appealed to traditional leaders in the country to support government to deliver development across the country.
Speaking during a brief meeting with four traditional leaders who included Chiefs Choongo, Hamusonde, Chona and Monze in Monze district yesterday, President Lungu said government was ready to sacrifice resources of other economic demands to secure enough food stock for the country.
The president noted that the country still had enough maize stock to last up to June this year adding that the government was making frantic efforts to import more maize stocks in case of poor crop yields because of the poor rainfall patterns in most parts of the country experienced so far.
“ I want to assure the nation that my government is making all efforts to secure adequate maize stocks because the current stocks we have will be depleted by June this year,” said President Lungu.
“As government we are alive to the fact that we have poor rainfall patterns in some parts of the country but as Patriotic Front (PF) government we shall do whatever it takes, even sacrifice resources meant for economic growth to ensure that no Zambian starves to death as a result of hunger,” said Mr. Lungu.
He disclosed that government was committed to prudently use the available resources to buy maize stocks from South America as well as setting up solar milling plants across the country as soon as possible to make mealie meal prices affordable to all Zambians.
According to recent World Food Programme (WFP) study an estimated 14 million people risk facing serious hunger in Southern Africa following the effects of adverse climatic conditions during the last farming season.
And President Lungu noted that traditional leaders should guide politicians in their ‘talk’ that has the potential to plunge the country into chaos.
The Head of state stated that in as much as traditional leaders had the democratic right to support a particular party it was their obligation to create harmony and peace in the manner politics should be conducted to preclude divisions in the country
“You may prefer one party over another but I think the most important thing is that we are all your children and so it is just right that you guide us in the manner we talk, and help us to create decency, harmony and ultimately peace in our politics because our unity as a country transcends politics,” said Mr. Lungu.
He also noted that it was important for traditional leaders to also support government in its endeavour to deliver development to all parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Chief Hamusonde who spoke on behalf of the other chiefs thanked the PF government for working on the Monze –Nieko road, constructing 11 health posts, and offloading maize to enable Monze residents buy in light of the hunger in the district adding that all these were achievements which eluded previous governments.
However, Chief Hamusonde also appealed to government to consider among other things increasing allowances for traditional leaders, grading roads leading to chiefs’ palaces and increasing the number of packs from current one pack to previous five per traditional leader.
He wondered why allocation of packs to chiefs has been reduced to one during the 2015/2016 farming season and appealed to the Head of State to look into the matter as a matter of urgency considering that the traditional leaders pay for their packs allocated to them.
In response President Lungu assured the traditional leaders that all their concerns would be addressed as soon as possible, noting the demands for increase in number of input packs, grading of rural roads and increment of Chief’s allowances would be considered as a priority.
The Head of State who toured the Nieko-Monze road and later received a thunderous welcome from Monze residents who jostled to catch a glimpse of him as he toured the township roads.
He was accompanied by the First Lady Esther Lungu, Provincial Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu, presidential aide Amos Chanda and other senior and government officials.