Western Province Permanent Secretary (PS), Sibanze Simuchoba, says the purported levels of poverty in Shang’ombo district are exaggerated as one will have a different impression of the district when they visit the area.
Speaking when he visited Shang’ombo district as part of his familiarisation tour of the province, Mr. Simuchoba acknowledged that there is poverty in the area but not as bad as it is reported to those who have never been to the district.
Mr. Simuchoba who also commended civil servants serving from Shang’ombo has implored settlers to exploit the economic potential that the district has.
He noted that the district is well positioned and suitable for cross border trade with Angola and hence, government will push to ensure that the road that links Shang’ombo to Sioma is upgraded to bituminous standard.
Meanwhile, Shang’ombo District Commissioner (DC) Lawrence Nyambe has emphasised the need for a customs office in the district noting that government is losing out on revenue generation in form of taxes on cross border trade activities taking place in the area.
ZANIS reports that the DC was speaking when the PS paid a courtesy call on him.
Captain Nyambe has since urged the provincial administration to facilitate for the opening of a customs office in the district.
Meanwhile, Choongo East ward councilor in Monze District in Southern Province Kelvin Simaundu says people in his ward need relief food this year due to the partial drought experienced in the area.
Mr. Simaundu says the partial drought in the area especially last month has consequently most maize crops adding that about 80 per cent of the crops have destroyed.
ZANIS reports the civic leader saying an interview yesterday that although the rains have resumed in the area , it would not help matters as it was already too late for the crops to recover adding those farmers planting early maturity maize brand were doing so in futility as the planting season was long gone.
He appealed to government to send a team from the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit ( DMMU ) to access the crop loss caused by prolonged drought and thus prepare for emergency food relief efforts in his area.
“People in my ward are anticipating hunger as most of them lost their maize crops to the prolonged drought experienced in the area and the District of Monze as a whole and will definitely need relief food starting march this year.
” And i wish to appeal to government to quickly send a team of expert to assess the maize crop loss due to drought experienced in the area so that it(government) can begin to prepare to send relief food to affected people in my ward,” Mr. Simaundu said.
And Mr. Simaundu has disclosed that most farmers in his ward failed to access farming inputs due to technical problems in the implementation of the Electronic Voucher System(E-voucher) in the District.
He urged government to listen to concerns raised by farmers and completely overhaul the system to be effective and relevant to the farming community.
” The E-Voucher system is a very good idea but i think it is genuine that government listens to various voices of farmers to overhaul the systems to be relevant and effective to farming community in the country. For instance, it is important for government to activate the cards early presumably by July and allow farmers to deposit so that there are no delays in the whole process,” said Mr. Simaundu.
The civic leader also implored government to rehabilitate the Nteme, and Kaya dams that have silted to facilitate rain harvesting and encourage farmers engage in irrigation in times of drought.