Columnists Features

Ndola Central to be hub of Agriculture

NDOLA Central constituency member of Parliament Emmanuel Mulenga spraying chemicals to some of the maize that was affected by army worms at his farm in Mitengo area.

MONICA KAYOMBO, Ndola
EMMANUEL Mulenga is a parliamentary representative for Ndola Central constituency on the Copperbelt with a population of over 200,000 people.

His is a constituency that hosts the majority of middle class people based in the city’s central business district (CBD).
“People from three other constituencies come to Ndola Central constituency to conduct their businesses. So, it is a business centre for Ndola,’’ Mr Mulenga said.
Mr Mulenga’s vision for his constituency is to have productive people at all levels including the grassroots.
He is against people in his constituency depending on handouts because the trend is demeaning.
“I want them to start their own businesses and have their own money,’’ he said.
The Ndola Central representative wants to encourage his constituents to engage in farming and play a part towards the diversification of the economy from copper to agriculture in line with President Lungu’s pronouncement.
To achieve this, Mr Mulenga has a dream of establishing a Ndola constituency farm and anchor farms that will provide technical advice to the farmers and create employment.
Through the constituency farm, the local farmers will also be assisted in acquiring cheap loans to grow their business.
He said most of the farm produce, including other Zambian produce are expensive because of high production costs and bank interest rates.
The government, through the constituency farm plans to have interventions aimed at lightening the burden of both farmers and local business men.
“We are alive to the fact that the interest rates in Zambia are too high, going up to 34 percent. This makes it difficult for the local farmers and businesses people to compete with their counterparts from other countries where interest rates are low.
He says plans, are underway to help farmers’ access cheap loans at government-owned banks like the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) and he has already started speaking to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to loan some people in his constituency.
The youths are not left out as the MP has gone a step further by contacting the Ministry of Youth and Sport to help them access cheaper loans.
He observes that the youths are expected to be in groups and work as teams to benefit from the loans that he will facilitate.
Recently, Government through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries acquired US$50 million for aqua-culture in the country.
Mr Mulenga says his constituency has great potential to contribute towards increased production in aqua-culture since the area is endowed with rivers including the Kafubu River which is the biggest river in the district.
“The Kafubu River has many extensions where fish-farming could be done,’’ he said.
He says the constituency office has applied to Ndola City Council (NCC) for land for aqua-culture and other farming activities.
All constituencies have challenges and Ndola Central constituency is not immune as it has high unemployment levels, limited health facilities and limited public schools.
Mr Mulenga says, it is disappointing that for a long time now, the nation is still importing some vegetables while unemployment levels remains high.
“Instead of exporting jobs, why don’t I create employment for my people that have faith in me. My vision is that, I want all those that are not working in my constituency to be entrepreneurs and create their own jobs,’’ he said.
Mr Mulenga says his constituency which also hosts the densely-populated Chipulukusu ward with a population of 70, 000 has no secondary school.
Chipulukusu ward boarders Nkwanzi ward, another highly- populated township hosting over 40,000 people which also have no secondary school.
He says lack of secondary schools in most densely-populated townships in his constituency makes it more stressful for school-going children who cover long distances to access education.
He says the academic performance of most children from the under-privileged families is poor because of the conditions they are subjected to, including covering the long distances to school as compared to those from affluent families that are either dropped at school or get on public transport.
He says, Nkwanzi and Chipulukusu townships and other surrounding places have a challenge with water and he has since engaged authorities to address the matter through the responsible ministries.
Through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Government has acquired US$102 million for water and sanitation reticulation programme in Chipulukusu township.
“Through the government efforts, Chipulukusu township will have 1000 taps with running water to cater for the whole community,’’ he said.
The other thing that is being carried out in the constituency is the tarring of eight kilometres of roads in Hillcrest through the funding from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
The constituency will also benefit from the C400 project that will benefit most parts of the district.
The Ministry of Health has earmarked on the construction of the first level hospital in Chipulukusu ward at the former play park for Zambia Railways Limited.
“We are just waiting for the paper work to be completed. That land is going to cater for Bwana Mkubwa through Masaiti district, Kabushi and Chifubu constituencies,’’ Mr Mulenga said.
Mr Mulenga, who is also a farmer and businessman, started business when he was only 14-years of age and has since established a chain of businesses.
He is currently studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and his motivation was steered by many challenges the people in the constituency are facing.
His love for politics started in 1991 during the political revolution and he was at the time a pupil at Ndola Basic School.
“After leaving Ndola Primary School, I went to Chiwala Secondary school, Kansenshi Secondary and did my senior secondary school at Sathya Sai in Ndola,’’ he said.
Mr Mulenga is married to Bayenkhu Phande Mulenga who is also his business partner and they have four children.

 

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