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Chisamba: Rich with money- spinning facilities but still shy

Chisamba council secretary Mary Lapukeni standing at the rear of the grader bought with Constituency Development Funds.

CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Chisamba
ACCESS to information on new farming techniques, good roads, accommodation and availability of transport for government workers are among the cries of the people of Chisamba constituency.
Situated 50 kilometres from the capital city Lusaka, Chisamba constituency was declared a district in November 2012 by late President Sata.
Chisamba shares borders with Lusaka in the south, Mumbwa in the west, Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi in the north and Chongwe in the south-east.
Chisamba is sparsely populated with 87,828 people. The district’s name is synonymous with money-spinning facilities such as farm blocs, Zambeef Company, Fringilla, Protea Hotels, and Chaminunka lodges.
Despite these facilities, farmers in the area yearn for information on new farming technologies.
Elijah Lungu, a farmer, lamented over the poor rainfall pattern which adversely affected the area, especially last year’s farming season.
“We experienced a prolonged dry spell. The dry spell adversely affected performance of nearly all the crops. The maize crop was the most hit because the spell occurred at the time when the crop was at tasselling and grain-filling stages,” he said.
Mr Lungu said because most of the farmers have little knowledge on how to manage crops when such natural causes happen, the damage to the crops is irreversible.
He said most farmers in the district depend on education from extension officers from the district for information on the crops and how best they could have a bountiful harvest but the extension officers are few.
District agriculture officer (DACO) Julius Malipa said Chisamba area is predominantly a home for both small scale and commercial farmers.
He said this is the reason farmers are in dire need of education but lack of transport hinders extension officers from reaching more famers.
Mr Malipa said the ministry reaches to farmers by bringing them under one roof to discuss new farming technologies.
He said Chisamba is one of the districts contributing to the country’s food basket and he was happy that government has increased the number recipients of farm inputs by 2,000.
Mr Malipa said 15,600 farmers will receive inputs as compared to 13,400 last year. He said the inputs are already in the district awaiting distribution through the newly introduced e-voucher.
He said Chisamba being an arisen giant in farming; World Bank has given the district funds to construct the Momboshi irrigation dam which will be 800 metres long both on the North and south side and 27 metres deep.
The dam is intended for use by both small-scale and commercial farmers.
While farmers are crying for new farming technologies, and agriculture officers lack transport, accommodation is another thorny issue among civil servants.
Chisamba district council secretary Mary Lapukeni said many civil servants in the area commute from Lusaka, Chibombo or Kabwe.
She said it is the reason the council has started building houses from the money they collecting from the premium service of plots and so far eight houses are under construction, for rent to members of the public especially civil servants.
The council has bought a new Toyota Hilux and a blocking making machine.
While civil servants are pushing Government development projects, area Member of Parliament (MP) Moses Muteteka and the constituency development fund (CDF) committee with the help of the council have joined in the activity.
Mr Muteteka said all the five wards namely Muswishi, Chikonkomene, Liteta, Chamuka and Chisamba wil benefit from  a clinic that has been built from the CDF.
He said from the time he was elected MP in 2006, Chisamba has seen upgrading of roads and the first government boarding school.
Mr Muteteka said the 2013 CDF was used to acquire a grader and there has been no CDF for the past two years. The district has not retired its receipts for CDF.
CDF committee chairperson Enock Sakala said from the time he took over as chairperson, a number of proposal have been dealt with.
“We get proposals from members of the public and we sit with the council and allocate funds according to the urgent need of a project,” Mr Sakala said.
He said so far the district has constructed a mortuary at Chisamba rural health centre, health post in Mulungushi area, flats for teachers at Chipembi primary school and 32 boreholes have been drilled in the constituency.
Mr Sakala said the committee also manged to purchase a generator for Chisamba boarding school.
He said Chisamba being predominantly a farming community, the committee in 2013 dedicated the CDF to the purchase of grader to rehabilitate roads to ease access of the market by farmers.
He said more road equipment, like a tipper, is needed apart from the grader so that the roads are opened up.
Chisamba acting district commissioner Simasiku Nawa said 12 roads in Chisamba need urgent rehabilitation by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU).
Mr Nawa said the Zambia National Service (ZNS) will also help in rehabilitating the roads. Some of the roads that need rehabilitation are Kalangwa to Chaminuka Lodge, the road leading to Chief Chamuka’s palace, the road to Kamaila School and the road from Chisamba to Kasava.
The District Commissioner thanked Chief Chamuka for giving Government 320 hectares of land for the construction of a district administration building, about 14 kilometres from the sub- boma, near Chipembi.
And District Medical Officer Jerry Sinyangwe said since Chisamba became a district, the ministry of health has ensured that it does not lag behind in infrastructure and some of the funds from the CDF have been used to build clinics and staff houses.
Dr Sinyangwe said Government has allocated three health posts to the district and contractors have moved on site.
Dr Sinyangwe said the construction of a trauma centre is also under way at Liteta hospital to cater for the high accident rate between Chisamba and Chibombo.
He said Government is working at ensuring that health services are taken closer to the people.

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