23 November 2012

Zambia: Mufumbwe in Development Boom

ZAMBIA is an attractive investment destination and possesses a rich array of natural resource, the majority of which has remained under exploited

. While mining has been the anchor of the country's economy since privatisation of the manufacturing industries some years ago, efforts are being made to diversify the economic base focusing on agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.

These efforts are no longer concentrating on the line of rail but also in the country sides like Mufumbwe.

This can be seen from the number of districts that have been created so far.

Mufumbwe District in the North-Western Pprovince, more than 150 kilometres from Solwezi, the provincial capital is 2,050 per square kilometer

According to the 2010 population census, there are 55,000 people in the area.

Politically, the district has one constituency with 16 wards, 40 polling stations and 27,027 registered voters,

The district has 52 polling streams

However, some of the developmental projects initiated in the district include 10 rural posts, road network, bridges and farming schemes as well as mineral explorations

District Commissioner Masela Chinyama said Government has released K2.3 billion for the rehabilitation of Kalende and Munyambala roads which leads to farm blocs.

Road infrastructure

Ms Chinyama said the rehabilitation works of Kalende and Munyambala are expected be completed four months from now.

"Under the Rural Roads Unit, the Zambia National Service is grading feeder roads in Kabanda and Mushima areas, this is aimed at enhancing smooth movement of farming inputs and produce" Ms Chinyama said.

Ms Chinyama said feasibility studies for the rehabilitation of four main bridges in Kalengwa and Mushima area is being conducted.

She said the completion of the Mutanda-Chavuma road will stimulate economic growth in the area.

Ms Chinyama said 60 kilometres stretch is remaining before reaching Chavuma and final completion of the road works.

The Mufumbwe Boarding High School is under construction and is expected to be completed in one and half years.

The school will have modern science laboratories, both computer and ordinary libraries.

Health

The district will benefit from 10 rural health centers from an ambitious programme which Government intends to construct 650 rural health posts country-wide

Government has acquired a US$50 million credit line from EXIM Bank of India for the construction of 650 rural health posts across the country.

The rural treatment centers will be spread out in all the districts of the 10 provinces of Zambia in line with Government's aspirations for focused and accelerated infrastructure development.

Tourism

Ms Chinyama said the district has the potential for the sector because of unexploited tourism products such as the Kabompo River which is the deepest on the continent.

She said the river has rapids which can be used for white water rafting, canoeing, boat cruising and other water sports.

Ms Chinyama said the landscape and cultural heritage which is still intact, if promoted can significantly promote tourism thus generate wealth for the local people.

She said the wildlife in West Lunga Game Park which extends to Mwinilunga, Kasempa and Kaoma is another tourism product worth promoting.

"Of late we have been seeing a herd of over 100 elephants in the park, which if promoted, can attract tourism investment," Ms Chinyama said.

Ms Chinyama said game management and open areas in Givundu and Shongwa are added products that can considerably contribute to enhancing the tourism potential in the area.

Agriculture

Government has continued to promote the sector by increasing the number of bene

ficiaries under the Farmer Input Support Programme.

For example this year, the number of beneficiaries has increased to 7,000 from 6, 000 last year.

Ms Chinyama said Government is working out a marketing system that will promote exploitation the groundnut production.

She said a lot farmers produced groundnuts but they were exploited by the unscrupulous traders from the neighbouring countries who bought the crop at a cheaper price.

Zangameno Cooperatives Union vice chairperson Paul Samakonga, however, urged Government to include ground-nuts on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) market system in order to encourage high productivity and yields.

Mr Samakonga said Government should also subsidise the price of livestock medicines as a starting pointing for cattle restocking.

"These are major challenges our farmers are facing which can change lives in society if they can be worked on," Mr Samakonga said.

He appealed for more banking outlets in order to enhance their farming business under takings.

Mr Samakonga said having one branch affected their business due to time spent at the bank trying access the services.

Mr Samakonga said Cavemont Bank alone was inadequate to service the farming community.

He appealed to FRA to increase the number of satellite depots from the current 15 to over 40 because of the vastness of the area.

Mr Samakonga said the farmers were made to transport their produce for more than 20 kilometer to find a satellite depot to deliver their maize thus making the cost of farming expensive due to cost implications.

Mr Samakonga said Government should also revise the K65, 000 X 50 kilogramme maize floor price because it was too low considering the cost of maize production.

He said that the current prevailing maize production cost suggestthat the floor price should be over K75, 000 per 50 kilogramme bag.

Mining

Apart from Kalengwa and Sinozanho mines, which are operating in the area, Government has continued to attract investors in the exploration of minerals and precious stones.

Ms Chinyama said there were several investors that are on the ground prospecting for copper, oil and gold as well as other minerals.

She said Government will soon release the findings of these exploration works.

Local government

The council has opened and upgraded township roads in an effort to attract people to invest in the sector.

Council secretary Aongola Wamulume said the council has planned and serviced the plots for potential investors to invest in real estate.

Mr Wamulume said the council has planned for the anticipated spillover effect of Kansashi, Lumwana and Misele Mines projects expansions.

"We are trying to position Mufumbwe so that it can benefit from the developments taking place on both the east and west sides. On the east they are three mines (Kansashi, Lumwana and Misele) which are expanding towards the district while oil blocks are on the opposite side," Mr Wamulume said.

He said Kashima dam is being constructed near Kabompo River where a water treatment plant is scheduled to be built.

Mr Wamulume said the area is currently supplied by bore holes.

Mr Wamulume said the plans were underway to connect the district to the Zesco national grid.

Richard Kanyakula said Mufumbwe has the potential to develop because it is transit point in the province.

"Developing rural areas such as Mufumbwe can help to decongest other cities if the entire requisites are available in the area," Mr Kanyakula said.

Marian Chisheta, a civil servant, said Mufumbwe has the potential to develop into a bigger district.

She said development the area could attract more civil servants especially nurses and teachers who shunned areas due to lack of basic facilities such as banking, internet and mobile telecommunication network.

"We have friends who have resigned and opted to work in the private sector in other bigger districts after being transferred here," Ms Chisheta said.

It could, therefore, be concluded that Mufumbwe is a sleeping giant.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.