Analysis: NATHAN MULENGA
AS ZAMBIA National Service (ZNS), we feel greatly honoured to be part of Government’s vision of seeing that development trickles down to the people of Zambia, whose aspirations are nothing less than seeing themselves enjoying a bearable and decent livelihood.
Pronouncements by Government to have the Zambian economy transformed through the diversification agenda have seen ZNS getting increasingly involved in national development programmes that include, among other activities, enhanced agricultural production, infrastructure development through construction and rehabilitation of rural roads and empowering youths with life-sustaining skills.
The ZNS undertakings touch on almost all aspects of human endeavour and I can confidently assert that through the unwavering support of Government, ZNS has attempted to deliver on all assignments that have been given by Government to be executed on behalf of the people of Zambia.
Through the support of Government, ZNS has continued to grow into an institution that is able to make significant impact on the transformation of our country’s economy.
In the last few years, ZNS has steadily expanded its hectarage in the area of agricultural production in order to make its contribution towards the national food basket tangible.
This has been achieved through mechanising most of the ZNS farms through the acquisition of high horse power tractors together with their implements and also the procurement and installation of centre pivots irrigation equipment, which has enabled us to produce all year round as well as venture into cultivation of high-value crops.
The acquisition of the farming equipment has not only made our farm operations less labour-intensive but has also made ZNS to become much more competitive and more effective in its agricultural production practices.
I wish to commend the Ministry of Defence for facilitating, on our behalf, the initiative to establish milling plants.
The introduction of milling plants will no doubt have a significant impact on the lives of the Zambian people as we shall be able to add value to the crops that we produce, thereby making a positive influence on the market prices of food products in our country and consequently helping to reduce the levels of poverty among our people.
I am therefore glad to note that plans to have milling plants installed in Monze and Mpika districts have reached an advanced stage.
Coming to the area of opening up the rural areas of the country, it is true that the rural populace forms the majority of agricultural producers and contributors to our national food basket.
The importance to have our rural areas opened up, therefore, cannot be over-emphasised as once this is achieved, our farmers in these areas will not only be able to access the provision of Government-supported farming inputs but also be able to smoothly transport their produce to the market.
As ZNS, therefore, we shall not relent in ensuring that the task of constructing feeder roads in rural areas is accomplished, regardless of the challenges.
Our pace may be slow due to various factors like inadequate and at times the constant breakdown of machinery. But let me assure the public that ZNS shall do everything possible to ensure that the works do not completely stall.
This shall we do by ensuring that the equipment is kept in a serviceable state using resources generated from within ZNS as we await Government’s acquisition of new equipment to beef up the existing fleet.
Coming to the area of youth skills training and empowerment, I wish to reiterate that through the Ministry of Defence, ZNS stands ready to train as many youths as can be assigned to us.
I am aware that Government takes the issue of empowering our youths with life-sustaining skills as can be attested by the funding of the construction of the third youth skills training centre at ZNS Chishimba in Kasama, which is almost completed.
With all these tasks that we are honoured to undertake as ZNS, the initiative to train recruits will certainly go a long way in reinforcing the manpower levels required to effectively deliver service to the people of Zambia.
There is need to recruit additional personnel to bring the staffing levels of servicemen and women in various units to acceptable levels.
The increased manpower levels on our establishment will not only make ZNS efficient in its undertaking of various operations but will also ensure that projects and tasks are accomplished in time.
The author is Zambia National Service commandant.
Analysis: NATHAN MULENGA