Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chiteme, Katambo, Mwakalombe nod AfDB’s proposal for Crop Processing at Luswishi Farm Block

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ambia -right and AfDB-left. 21-02-2019. MNDP
ambia -right and AfDB-left. 21-02-2019. MNDP

Ministers of National Development Planning, Agriculture and Copperbelt Province have supported the African Development Bank (AfDB) proposal to implement Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) at Luswishi Farm Block in Lufwanyama District in Copperbelt.
The Staple Crop Processing Zone concept is envisaged to facilitate the development of idle land into commercially viable farm production and processing operations.

African Development Bank delegation, led by Country Manager Manneko Mary Monyau, made a presentation about the SCPZ for Luswishi Farm Block to Honourable Ministers Mr. Alexander Chiteme (National Development Planning), Mr. Michael Katambo (Agriculture) and Mr. Japhen Mwakalombe (Copperbelt Province), Permanent Secretaries Mr. Chola Chabala and Mr. Mushuma Mulenga (both of National Development Planning) and Mr. Songowayo Zgambo (Agriculture) and other officials at the Ministry of National Development Planning on Thursday.

AfDB Chief Agriculture Economist Duncan Mwesige explained that the Staple Crop Processing Zone initiative was aimed at sustainable and balanced agri-industrialisation, promoting investments in the agriculture sector, enhancing rural livelihood opportunities, drive economic growth and reducing rural-urban migration.

“The proposed SCPZ is a timely initiative to create wealth, employment, food security and fits well with the new trends in developing sustainable technologies and innovative products to address the challenges posed due to rapid industrialisation and urbanisation and fast depletion of natural resources faced by the sector,” Mr. Mwesige explained.

He called for private sector to invest in the Staple Crop Processing Zone.

Mr. Mwesige said, through the SCPZ, Zambia can develop a globally competitive agro-industry, promote synergies and productive relationships between business enterprises and farmers.

The AfDB Chief Agriculture Economist added that the SCPZ would assist in achieving the transformation of the agriculture sector and make Zambia one of the leading players in the global food markets and grow wealth for the farming community.

He expressed optimism that the programme would transform.

Mr. Mwesige appealed to the Government to prioritise the tarring of the road leading to Luswishi Farm Block.

AfDB Country Manager Ms. Monyau congratulated the Zambian Government for the improvement of its AfDB portfolio that currently stands at 77 per cent.

And Minister Chiteme expressed Government commitment to improve the welfare of the people, adding that initiatives like SCPZ were welcome to empower the masses.

He stressed that Farm Block development is one of the programme areas identified in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) to help accelerate economic diversification and job creation. The Minister said Farming Blocks were part of the strategies that support reduction of poverty and inequalities in the country.

Mr. Chiteme noted that crop processing would contribute to Government’s efforts to create jobs, food security and economic growth of the country.

Agriculture Minister Katambo assured that his ministry would consider budget lines from which resources could be mobilised towards Government’s counterpart funding towards the SCPZ at Luswishi Farm Block.

Copperbelt Minister Mwakalombe expressed gratitude that the project would contribute to food production and processing in the Province, which could even be supplied to other regions and neighbouring countries. Mr. Mwakalombe said Copperbelt Province was diversifying its economy and would therefore lobby for the speedy implementation of the SCPZ at Luswishi Farm Block.

Ministers- Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe, PS Mushuma and Director Lishomwa, 21-02-2019. MNDP
Ministers- Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe, PS Mushuma and Director Lishomwa, 21-02-2019. MNDP
Ministers Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe on left listen to AfDB presentation. 21-02-2019. MNDP
Ministers Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe on left listen to AfDB presentation. 21-02-2019. MNDP
Zambian delegation on teh left listen to AfDB presentation 21-02-2019. MNDP
Zambian delegation on teh left listen to AfDB presentation 21-02-2019. MNDP

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