Vice President Inonge Wina has called for the packaging of the 93 resettlement schemes across the country so as to ensure overall investment and development in the said areas. Mrs Wina observes that resettlement schemes have for a longtime not performed as planned as most of them are isolated and far from the mainstream social and economic development.
The Vice President highlights that the development has contributed to settlers in the scheme feeling neglected.
Mrs Wina said this when she graced the Resettlement Infrastructure Investment and Enterprise Support (ARIISE) programme at Pamodzi Hotel Plc.
“ Am optimistic that the implementation of the ARIISE programme will contribute in uplifting the social and economic status of the settlers in resettlement schemes, “ she said.
She disclosed that most of the land occupied by the settlers is fertile and if well utilized can turn Zambia into the food basket of the region.
The Vice President reiterated that Zambia is endowed with abundant resources needed to produce most of the food commodities demanded in all the neighbouring countries.
“Over one million hectares of land is currently in the hands of voluntary and involuntary settlers in some of Zambia’s most fertile regions in all the ten provinces.
“Unfortunately, the schemes have not performed as planned for decades because most of the schemes have been isolated from the mainstream social and economic development programmes leading to frustrations and feeling of neglect among settlers over the years, “ she said.
The Vice president added that as the country is well endowed with resources for production of the food commodities demanded in all the neighbouring countries, resettlement schemes can and should play a critical role in this regard under the ARIISE programme.
Mrs Wina says the signing of the concession agreement will enable cooperating partners to tap into the existing opportunities found in the resettlement schemes.
And speaking earlier, Southern African Business Development Forum (SABDF) Executive Director Jabu Mabobo says his organisation has identified Angola as a potential market for the commodities to be produced in Zambia under the ARIISE programme.
Mr Mabobo stated that the forum has opened its doors to private partners instead of it sourcing finances from Member States.
Later the Vice President signed the concession agreement on behalf of the government for the development of the western corridor trade facilitation routes inclusive of resettlement schemes and border facilities through a Finance, Design, Construct, Rehabilitate, Operate, Maintain and Transfer (FDBROMT) public private partnership model.
Under the concession agreement over 300,000 families are expected to benefit from all the 93 resettlement schemes across the country.