31 October 2012

Zambia: State Assures of Safe Maize Storage

WITH the onset of the rain, Government has assured the nation that most of the maize stock has already been hauled to holding depots.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Emmanuel Chenda said Government prioritised the protection of maize stocks especially with the onset of the rain.

The minister said in Parliament yesterday that enough tarpaulins had been procured for the safety of the grain.

"We have ferried most of the maize to holding depots, and as Government we don't want the maize to go to waste, hence the measures we have put in place are very effective. Additionally the grain is covered with tents in the depots," he said.

And Agriculture Deputy Minister, Nicholas Banda informed the House that the country had a cattle population of 3.4 million as of June, this year.

The cattle population was highest in Western Province, which accounted for 1.7 million, followed by Southern Province, which had 1.2million.

Provinces with the least cattle were Luapula and Northern provinces, which had 13,000 and 52,000 respectively.

Mr Banda said the total population of commercial livestock farmers in the country stood at 1,159.

The highest number of the farmer category was located in Central Province which had 610 while Lusaka had 112. Western and Luapula Provinces recorded zero commercial livestock farmers.

Mr Banda was responding to PF Chilubi MP, Obius Chisala, who wanted to know the number of the commercial livestock farmers, the country had as of May this year.

His counterpart, Luxon Kazabu added that various measures were being undertaken to improve the cattle population, which included among others, the revitalisation of the artificial insemination centre in Mazabuka, the establishment of livestock centres as well as breading centres.

And Foreign Affairs Minister, Given Lubinda said the Joint Permanent Commissions (JPC) involving Zambia and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo were working on installing beacons on the Kaputa and Mpweto border areas.

Mr Lubinda said Government was not idle on the matter but that the security situation in the DRC had affected the process.

"We are not sitting idle, the JPCs for both Zambia and the DRC are addressing the issues relating to the border area," Mr Lubinda said.

Queried whether Zambia would at any point deploy soldiers to help assist in restoring peace in the DRC, Mr Lubinda said the neighbouring country was a sovereign State and Zambia would not interfere unless where regional organs such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) recommended for such a measure.

He was answering a question by Mr Chisala, who wanted to know measures that had been taken to resolve the boundary issue, which he said had persisted for 30 years.

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