‘East fertile for investment’

ZESCO’S Chipata substation under construction in Msekera area. The project is scheduled for commissioning in May 2015. - Picture by DARLINGTON MWENDABAI.

THE Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI) says the region is fertile for investment in agriculture, mining, tourism, textile and construction.
EPCC president Thomas Mtonga said the province was rich in wildlife, forest, arable land, uranium, alluvial gold, dimension stone, fertiliser-supporting minerals, limestone, phosphates and tantalite.
Mr Mtonga said the economy of Eastern Province was heavily based on agriculture and agribusiness although investors could invest in other sectors.
He said in Chipata recently although there were few large and small commercial farms, most of the production in the province was by small traditional farms and small holders.
“A notable agro production practice is the cotton and tobacco out grower schemes managed by firms such as Cargill, North-Western Company (NWK) and Japan Tobacco Incorporation,” Mr Mtonga said.
He said tourism was the second most important industry in the province with an estimate of 11,000 foreign tourists visiting the two Luangwa national parks each year.
Mr Mtonga said traditional ceremonies such as Nc’wala of the Ngoni people in Chipata City and the Kulamba of the Chewa in Katete offered local people low-cost high volume domestic tourism.
He said the Hotel and Catering Association of Zambia Eastern Chapter had seen number of hospitality establishments rising from 30 to 150 from 2000 – 2016.
Mr Mtonga said the third significant sector in the province was its diverse mineral base, which was largely under exploited.
He said gemstones such as tourmaline, gourmet, aquamarine and amethyst were available for exploitation.

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