File:Peasant farmers load their maize into a truck before transportation to an FRA depot in chief Mulala's area. Agriculture faces manay challenges in the area and this fuels poverty
File:Peasant farmers load their maize into a truck before transportation to an FRA depot in chief Mulala’s area. Agriculture faces manay challenges in the area and this fuels poverty

Eastern Province Permanent secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says smuggling of maize into neighbouring Malawi and Mozambique remains a challenge in spite of the intervention measures by the Presidential Joint Operation Committee in the province.

Mr Kasolo, however, attributes the challenge of maize smuggling to the porosity of the border points around the province and unscrupulous business individuals.

The Permanent Secretary was speaking when he inspected trucks laden with maize at Mwami border yesterday.

Mr Kasolo called on the business individuals in the maize market to conduct their businesses within the confines of the law and to show patriotism.

“Those that know the people who buy maize and take it across the border should help us by reporting to the police so that we can track and arrest them,” he said.

He also expressed displeasure on the slow rate at which farmers are selling maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), adding that unscrupulous individuals are buying the grain and holding on to the commodity until government re-opens the border points.

“The joint operation committee will not allow anyone to be exporting maize before the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has bought the one million metric tonnes of maize which the agency is tasked to buy,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking earlier when a Parliamentary Council team of Government lawyers called on him at his office on the sensitisation program of the referendum and the proposed bill of rights, Mr Kasolo said adequate information on the contents of the Bill of Rights and the referendum will assist voters in the province to make an informed decision when casting a ballot in the referendum in the August 11 polls.

Mr Kasolo commended the team for visiting the province at an opportune time, adding that the electorate will have adequate information to vote ‘YES’ in the referendum.

He called on the parliamentary council team to utilise all media outlets in the province for the sensitisation program to have a lasting impact.

And Chief Parliamentary Council, Andrew Nkunika, said the sensitisation program is ongoing with Nyimba, Petauke and Katete having been covered so far.

Mr Nkunika said the sensitisation program is addressing concerns from the electorate such as clarification on the contents of the Bill of Rights and voting in the referendum.

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