Independent tobacco growers in Eastern Province are stuck with their tobacco due to lack of market.
This has worried EFAZ, Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia.
Speaking to Breeze News, EFAZ Provincial Chairperson, Franklin Mwale says that this is unfortunate especially that the country has recorded low volumes of the crop.
Mr Mwale says that it is worrying that three weeks have passed from the time the crop marketing season opened but independent tobacco growers have not sold any crop.
He says that this is the third year running for Eastern Province to experience lack of tobacco buyers to buy
tobacco from the independent farmers.
Mr Mwale has appealed to TBZ, the Tobacco Board of Zambia to quickly address the situation.
He says that it is important for TBZ to start searching for market for next year’s tobacco marketing and further advice farmers which type of tobacco to grow.
And Mr Mwale has wondered why Zambia is the only country in the region where Tobacco merchants buy contracted tobacco first leaving the independent tobacco.
He says that in Malawi and Zimbabwe Tobacco merchants buy contracted tobacco alongside independent grown tobacco.
A 39 year old businessman of Mukwantha village in Chief Mwase Nthembwe’s area of Lundazi district has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with hard for trafficking in marijuana.
Appearing before Lundazi Magistrate Milton Nyirenda was Elias Banda, a businessman who admitted to the charge before court.
Particular of the offence are that Elias Banda on May, 9th, 2016 jointly and whilst acting together with Christopher Sichone aged 31 a businessman of John Laing in Lusaka, Daphless Tembo 52 a peasant farmer, Dingiswayo Mwale 42 a driver of Roman Catholic Compound in Lundazi district and Hermit Chungu 68 a businessman of Zgobeta village in Chief Kapichila were arrested by officers from DEC, the Drug Enforcement Commission for trafficking in psychotropic substance commonly known as marijuana weighing 2,546 kilogram.
And when the matter came up on May, 9th, 2016 Elias Banda readily admitted to the offence, forcing Magistrate Nyirenda to adjourn the case to 23rd May for sentencing Elias Banda.
The other four accused denied committing the offence and the matter was adjourned to June, 7th, 2016 for the commencement of trial.
In mitigation Elias Banda pleaded with the court to exercise maximum lenience on him since he was a family man adding that if sent to prison his family would suffer.
But Magistrate Nyirenda said it was the duty of the court to give stiff punishment to wrong doers to deter would be offenders.
The Patriotic Front PF Party in Eastern Province says the adoption process for candidates contesting positions of Member of Parliament and council chairman is at 65 percent.
PF Provincial Chairman, Andrew Lubusha told Breeze News that the National Executive Committee in Lusaka is currently selecting a final list of names of people who will stand on PF ticket in the August 11th general elections.
Mr. Lubusha says the party is today selecting a final list of candidates to stand on PF ticket.
Mr. Lubusha says President Edgar Lungu or the PF Secretary General, Davies Chama will on Thursday officially announce the names of candidates that will be selected.
He says currently no one has been adopted so far and urged people aspiring for any position to remain calm.
Mr. Lubusha says the party will start campaigning when the names of people to stand are known.
Police in Chipata have started interrogating people in connection with a robbery case that occurred at Cavmont Bank in Chipata early this month.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner, Alex Chilufya told Breeze News that police are making good progress in the theft, which involved over 2 million Kwacha cash and foreign currency.
Mr. Chilufya says police are following up on any report that they are receiving and interrogating some individuals which has helped them a lot.
Mr. Chilufya however, could not reveal whether someone has been arrested in connection with the robbery saying the matter is still under investigations.
Early this month, unknown robbers broke into Cavmont Bank Chipata Branch and went away with over two million Kwacha cash, over six thousand United States dollars and over two thousand, four hundred Pounds.
Some opposition political parties yesterday started the process of registering their 100 supporters for presidential candidates.
The political parties that gathered at Chipata Municipal Council told Breeze News that their parties were registering their cadres who will later travel to Lusaka to support their candidates for nominations.
The political parties included People Alliance for Change PAC and FDD, the Forum for Democracy and Development.
Eastern Province Interim Chairperson for PAC Mackson Nyirenda and FDD Chipata District Secretary Dingan Maimisa said that their parties were mobilizing 100 cadres each to support their leaders.
According to ECZ, Electoral Commission of Zambia guidelines, each presidential candidate is supposed to produce 100 supporters from each of the 10 provinces in the country.
The ECZ has set May 30 to June 3rd as dates for nominations of presidential candidates.
Parliamentary candidates will file in their nominations on May 31 while nominations for mayoral and other local government candidates will take place on May 30.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Eastern Province has refuted reports that farmers need to have a mobile phone for them to access inputs using the e-venture system.
Some farmers in Chipata told Breeze News that some officers from the Ministry of Agriculture are going round telling farmers to buy phones for receiving messages if they are to benefit from FISP, the Farmer Input Support program e-venture system
They wondered why the e- venture system requires them to have phones, adding that it will be a challenge for them as they do not know how to read.
But Provincial Agriculture Coordinator, Roy Lumamba told Breeze News that the reports are misleading because farmers only need to have a card that will allow them to access the inputs.
Mr. Lumamba explained that there is a system that will be put in place to inform farmers when the inputs are ready even if they have no phones.
He says the e-venture system will assist bring sanity in FISP because farmers will now be collecting fertilizer on their own unlike in the past when there were a number of complaints from farmers who used to get their inputs through their cooperative leaders.
Plans by a South African company to put up a solar power generating plant in Eastern Province have advanced.
Eastern Province permanent secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says that a draft MOU has already been given to the Attorney General, which he hopes to finalise before he comes back to Chipata from Lusaka this week for official signing after all logistics are in place.
Mr. Kasolo says the company is happy with the 150 hectors of land it was allocated in Senior Chief Nzamane’s area.
He explained that supplying rates by ZESCO have also already been sent to the company.
The 250 million US dollars project will be facilitated by Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, with jobs between 300 and 350 being created.
Construction of works of a dry port at Chipata Railway Station will have to wait a little more time, after the initial tender documents that were advertised were rejected by the funders of the project.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo confirmed to Breeze News, that the funders of the project objected the initial documents.
He says the whole process has now gone back to the drawing board to follow the requirements of European Union, European Investment Bank and the Bank France, who are funding the project.
Mr. Kasolo explained that the documents that were drafted and advertised had to be withdrawn, because the designs were out of scape.
Mr. Kasolo, however, has assured that officers are working hard to ensure that they come up with documents that are acceptable and meet the funders’ requirements.
A project to construct a health post in Masiwa area of Chief Madzimawe in Chipata has hit a snag.
This is because the clinic whose construction works have not yet been completed might not be completed due to shortage of building materials.
Chairperson of Works Committee Lingson Zulu says that the project has run out of cement and roofing sheets.
Mr. Zulu says that clinic project is the only hope for people in the area to easily access medical services.
He explained that people have to walk about seven kilometres to access medical services at Madzimawe clinic, which is a challenge.
Mr. Zulu has appealed to government to assist stating that they only need about 10 pockets of cement and ten roofing sheets to complete the health facility.
The people of Khumba Ward in Chadiza district have bemoaned lack of development in their ward.
The villagers have charged that their ward is the most neglected in Chadiza district.
Matthews Mbewe has told Breeze News in Chadiza that the ward has a number of challenges, which local leaders and government have failed to resolve.
Mr Mbewe says that the ward is completely cut off from other wards due to lack of proper road network and dilapidated bridges.
He pointed out Mwangazi-Kaphinde road as the shortest route to Chipata district but the road is impassable.
Mr. Mbewe stated that Mwami Bridge, which was washed away 5 years ago, has not yet been attended to by the government.
He says that 28 out of 64 villages in the ward have no safe and clean drinking water, forcing people to drink water from shallow wells.
The most affected areas include Chingulube, Chimwele Khumba Farms, Nkhani za Mowa, Mwalaokhoma and Mzungu villages.