Government has handed over a tractor to 10 women cooperatives in Senior Chief Mushili Munyemesha’s chiefdom in Masaiti district on the Copperbelt Province as part of the empowerment initiatives to promote agriculture productivity in the area.
The cooperatives that benefited are Munama Cooperatives, Kabwata Mupapa Cooperative, Saka Cooperative, Chankute Cooperative, and Mabungo Cooperative.
Others are Chinudo Cooperative, Shibukwe Cooperative, Mushili West, Masaiti Seed Growers, and Kwesha Cooperatives.
Acting Minister of Gender, Sylvia Chalikosa, has called for enhanced training and capacity building for women cooperatives in the district.
Ms Chalikosa who is also Minister in the Office of the Vice president stressed the need for more engagement and stronger linkages to realise the gender agenda in the country.
The Minister has since called for collaboration among different stakeholders in line with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) which priorities working collectively rather than as individuals.
“We are all guided by the Seventh National Development Plan which espouses the need to work in clusters and not as single entities. The success of government programmes like this one cannot be left entirely to one ministry but all departments in line ministries at national, provincial, and district levels,” she said.
The Minister further revealed that 120 out of 288 chiefdoms countrywide have so far benefitted 71 tractors and 94 tillers since the programme was initiated.
Earlier, Senior Chief Mushili Munyemesha of the Lamba people called for government to continue implementing projects that benefit rural people in the country.
Speaking through his wife, Jessie Mushili, during a courtesy call paid on him by the minister, the traditional leader said people were eager to participate in development programmes in the country to uplift their living standards.
Meanwhile, Acting District Cooperatives Development Officer, Charles Zimba, has encouraged the cooperatives to consider using the tractor as an income generating tool.
Mr Zimba said once the tractor is used like a business, the cooperatives would be able to prudently maximize the facility as well as ensure sustainability.
Mr Zimba disclosed that a committee comprised of the 10 cooperatives and other stakeholders has since been constituted to ensure accountability in the use of the tractor in the district.
“We want to see the committee come up with a schedule as well as a model of earning revenue from it. This is so that the tractor can be used to benefit every person who is targeted to benefit” he said.
And the Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Officer, Mutaba Akasholobelwa, has pledged to work closely with the women cooperatives in the chiefdom to ensure effective use of the tractor.
Mr Akasholobelwa said it was the desire of his ministry to see that the tractor benefits the women from the grassroots of the chiefdom
“We want to make sure the tractor is not abused but that the actual women on the ground in the chiefdom are the ones making use of the tractor,”