NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola
CHRISTABEL Simwawa is a small-scale farmer whose only stream of income comes by tilling the land in the Kambilombilo Resettlement Scheme.
Ms Simwawa, 30, a single mother of three children, is passionate about cultivating different crops and diligently uses her skill to support her family.
She learnt the art of mixed farming from her parents who settled in the area in 1988 when the resettlement scheme was established by the Kenneth Kaunda-led government.
Successive governments, including the current regime have continued to support farmers in the resettlement scheme by providing them with farm inputs and the needed social amenities.
Now Government is in the process of issuing title deeds to farmers in the farm block who have had no security of tenure for their land for about 30 years.
“I want to thank Government for the initiative because as a family we are benefiting a lot from the scheme. The harvest is good and the income we generate from various crops is sustainable,” Ms Simwawa said.
With good crop management, she is able to earn K5, 000 when she plants five or seven pockets of potato seed.
“My harvest (of potatoes) is usually 30 to 40 bags and after I sell my produce at K110 for a 25 kilogramme bag, I get about K5,000. And when the harvest is not good, a bag sells for K70,” she said.
Ms Simwawa makes a return of about K50,000 annually from the sale of groundnuts, maize, beans, Irish and sweet potatoes among other crops.
She sells groundnuts, maize, beans, sweet and Irish potatoes to the Food Reserve Agency and other buyers.
Kambilombilo Resettlement Scheme is about 78 kilometres from Lufwanyama District Council. It lies on 28,000 hectares of land, divided into 1,550 small holder farms. About 1,100 settlers have since benefitted from this land allocation.
When Vice-President Inonge Wina visited Kambilombilo Resettlement Scheme recently to appreciate the living standards of the members of community, she informed them of Government’s intension to transform farming schemes across the country into modern farmsteads.
Mrs Wina said Government wants to provide basic infrastructure such as roads and health facilities to facilitate economic development.
The establishment of resettlement schemes in all the 10 provinces of the country in line with Government’s recognition of the need for poverty reduction and rural development all over Zambia.
Through the Department of Resettlement, the Vice-President’s office is mandated to resettle targeted citizens both on voluntary and involuntary bases in order to provide them with alternative livelihoods while uplifting living standards of the rural communities.
In order to empower settlers in resettlement schemes, Government is implementing the national land titling programme which is a fast tracking method of issuing title deeds to deserving applicants.
Mrs Wina urged all settlers to take advantage of the programme to acquire title deeds by liaising with the provincial resettlement office for further details.
The farmers at the scheme were also encouraged by the Vice-President’s gesture to take part in the tree planting exercise in Kambilombilo.
The Ministry of National Planning under the climate change coordinating unit is working on the national tree planting programme with the aim of growing forest cover of 45.9 million hectares.
The move is aimed at catering for the demand for wood products and conserve forests to improve the ecosystem.
The visit by Mrs Wina elated farmers in the Kambilombilo Resettlement Scheme who were particularly happy with the ongoing national land titling programme.
Kambilombilo Resettlement Scheme chairman Alfred Sinyangwe, speaking for 1,100 settlers said, “We are happy with Government’s commitment to improve the welfare of small scale famers in our area,” he said.
Mr Sinyangwe appealed to Government to work on the road network in the area to improve their access to the markets. The need to connect the area to the national electricity grid and installation of a communication tower will also boost the growth of agriculture in the area.
Similarly, six chiefs who were represented by chieftainess Shimukunami said they were elated by developmental projects that Government has been implementing in Kambilombilo under President Edgar Lungu’s leadership.
In attendance were chiefs Nkana, Shimukunami, Fungulwe, Mukutuma, Shibuchinga and Lumpuma who reaffirmed their commitment to work with President Lungu and his government.
Some of the developments that cheered the chiefs were the rural electrification project in Chief Shibuchinga’s area which is about to begin, construction of the World Bank-funded Katembula dam, the construction of Chieftainess Shimukunami’s palace and the presence of investors among others.
The key concerns that were raised include the dilapidation of feeder roads and a number of projects that have stalled.
Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe assured farmers of Government support in fertiliser distribution and road construction of more than 80 kilometres within the area.
NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola