CHAMBO NG’UNI, Chisamba
BEING an agriculture hub, Chisamba still remains undeveloped despite its huge agricultural potential.
Commercial and small-scale farmers in this Central Province rural district grow a good amount of maize, and through the bumper crop production they contribute to national food security.
The farmers also keep livestock.
Chiefs Chamuka and Liteta, whose chiefdoms make up Chisamba, want feeder roads in the new district rehabilitated to ease transportation of farm produce, inputs and implements.
The traditional leaders feel that better roads will enhance operations of Government, open up Chisamba for investments and ease movement of people.
When Central Province permanent secretary Chanda Kabwe recently visited Chisamba, Chief Chamuka complained that bad roads are negatively affecting agriculture and service delivery by Government.
Chief Chamuka also urged Government to upgrade roads captured under the Link Zambia 8000 project to bituminous standard He is happy Government has engaged Luvas Construction to rehabilitate Kalangwe-Chipembi, an important feeder road in Chamuka area.
“Good roads will open up Chisamba for investment,” Chief Chamuka said.
With a better road network, Chief Chamuka is optimistic agricultural production will increase in Chisamba while the mining potential will be fully exploited.
Chief Chamuka is also concerned about the challenges of late delivery and distribution of farm inputs.
He said challenges are known both on the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and e voucher system.
“We have had FISP running for the last 10 years but the same farmers are still benefitting,” Chief Chamuka said.
“We want to see a situation where those who have been getting subsidised inputs are weaned off and others benefit from the programme.”
Chief Liteta, whose chiefdom is both in Chisamba and Chibombo also, urged Government to address challenges his people experience in accessing farm inputs.
Mr Kabwe, the provincial permanent secretary said the central region of Zambia is an agriculture region and contributes positively to the national food basket.
Mr Kabwe regrets that farmers in Central Province face challenges in accessing farm inputs.
He attributed the delays in distribution of farm inputs to lack of funds and a presidential petition that followed after the 2016 general elections.
During the 2017/2018, he assured the traditional leaders that by August e-voucher cards would be activated so that farmers receive farm inputs early.
“We have not performed well this season and we have learnt lessons,” Mr Kabwe said. “Next season, we will do better.”
The outbreak of armyworms and stalk borers which also affected Chisamba and Chibombo was a source of concern because the pests threatened food security.
Mr Kabwe said Government’s prompt action prevented the pests from destroying maize.
Stressing agriculture as key in fighting poverty and attaining food security, Mr Kabwe, urged farmers in Chisamba to increase their crop production.
“We are going to support this sector. These [Chisamba and Chibombo districts] are the areas where we need to do roads because we want farmers to increase their productivity,” he said.
Chisamba was created out of Chibombo district in 2013, and is one of the four new districts in Central Province.
A district administration, civic centre, housing units and a post office are among structures Government is constructing to develop the region and improve service delivery.
Both Chief Chamuka and Chief Liteta shared with Mr Kabwe their concerns on the lack of development in Chisamba.
Civil servants are experiencing challenges in discharging their duties because of lack of infrastructure and this negatively affects service delivery.
Chisamba council chairperson Fred Choongo said the establishment of new infrastructure is important in promoting development and improving service delivery.
“It’s [Chisamba] a young district but I think it’s being manned by determined and energetic people,” Mr Choongo said. “We are all working to improve Chisamba to be a better place.”
Mr Choongo said among the challenges the district is experiencing is poor road network and lack of bridges on some roads.
“We are also facing the challenge of lack of industries to provide jobs to our youths,” Mr Choongo noted.
“We would be happy if the new structures are completed. They have taken a long time,” Chief Chamuka said.
His palace, Chamuka Primary School and the local court have been electrified under the rural electrification project, and he is happy about this.
Chief Chamuka wants the project to continue so that many people in his chiefdom can access electricity.
He pledged to work with Government because as a traditional leader, he is part of the governance system in the country.
His counterpart, Chief Liteta lauded President Lungu for the strides his government is making in promoting development and uplifting the living conditions of the people.
“We are happy with the leadership of this government. He [President Lungu] is a man of all the people,” Chief Liteta who was flanked his indunas, headmen and headwomen said.
Like Chief Chamuka, Chief Liteta is also working with Government in improving the living conditions of his people.
“We need right people in government offices,” he said. “What is more important is teamwork.”
Liteta chiefdom is experiencing challenges such as poor road network, limited schools and health centres, and lack of human resource in schools and health facilities
Government is working in partnership with traditional leaders and their people in promoting and fostering development, and improving service delivery in Central Province.
“Traditional leaders are part of governance and we expect traditional leaders to be part of programmes of the government,” Mr Kabwe said.
“If we [traditional leaders] don’t support the government that has been elected, we are failing the people.”
Mr Kabwe also toured the construction sites of the civic centre and district administration and he was happy in the manner the works are being done.
When all new structures currently under construction are completed, Mr Kabwe said, service delivery by Government will improve in Chisamba.
“The services will come closure to the people. All services will be offered here,” an elated Mr Chanda said.
Mr Kabwe urged civil servants in the district to be professional and focus on service delivery.
Mr Kabwe said Government is aware that lack of office accommodation, houses and vehicles was affecting civil servants in the execution of their duties.
“Challenges will always be there but what is important is for us to put our hands together,” he said.
“We need to work extra hard to improve the welfare of the people and their livelihood.”
prodded civil servants to focus on transforming Chisamba into a leading district in Central Province in terms of service delivery to the people.
Indications are that when new infrastructure is completed, Government will make efforts in improving service delivery and people in Chisamba will start accessing services.