Chipata district is expected to record a 70 per cent increase in maize production this year.
This has been confirmed to Breeze News by the acting DACO, District Agricultural Coordinator, Alfonso Kalahawe.
Mr. Kalahawe says that the expected output of maize for this year stands at over 4 million kilogrammes.
He says that this is despite some areas in the district experiencing poor rainfall patterns.
And Mr. Kalahawe observed that the bulk of maize has been produced by over 3 million small scale farmers.
He says that it is unfortunate that the district currently only has 26, 000 farmers operating on a large scale basis.
And Mr. Kalahawe says that despite the late distribution of farming inputs, various stakeholders were able to assist farmers with fertiliser.
He says that this has helped to shelter some farmers from experiencing a low output.
The United Party for National Development, UPND, has observed that most commodities will be hiked because of the increment in fuel prices.
Provincial Youth Chairperson, Victor Mbuzi states that government should have not removed the fuel subsidy.
He says government should reintroduce fuel subsidy because it used to make food and transport cheaper.
Mr. Mbuzi told Breeze News that soon mealie meal prices will be hiked and that this will affect the poor greatly.
The Energy Regulation Board, ERB, announced the fuel increment on Thursday last week.
ERB Board Chairperson George Chabwera attributed the increment to thedepreciation in the exchange rate of the Zambian Kwacha.
A serious shortage of water has hit Mwangazi ward in Chadiza district.
Ward Councillor Petronella Banda says that poor rainfall has contributed to the problem of water in her ward.
The civic leader says that Mwangazi Ward, which has 56 villages, depends on the seven boreholes that are in the area and out of the seven only five are working.
Ms Banda says Kamphaka and Mpungalume zones are the worst affected because these areas have no streams while the two dams were washed away some thirteen years ago.
She however, thanked the Ministry of Local Government and Housing for the five boreholes that were sunk last year but appealed to the ministry to speed up the opening of the two that have not yet started operating.
Meanwhile the civic leader has bemoaned poor staffing at Ngala primary school.
She says the school has three teachers handling grades 1 to 7, which is a huge burden especially that one of the teachers is on leave.
The much anticipated for tobacco marketing season has been officially launched with TBZ, Tobacco Board of Zambia chosen to run the floors.
Addressing various stakeholders yesterday, Agricultural Minister Wylbur Simuusa says that the decision to allow TBZ to run the floors this season was arrived at because it was clear that this is what the farmers wanted.
Mr. Simuusa however, took a swipe at the regulatory authority for not adequately addressing the needs of the farming community in the province.
He has instructed the board to immediately begin engaging all stakeholders so that by December this year, a local association is formed which will run the floors next year.
And the Minister announced that farmers have been allowed to sell their produce from wherever they want to, for as long as they are duly registered.
He directed all merchants to ensure that they pay farmers within 24 hours of buying the produce.
Meanwhile Eastern Tobacco Grower’s Association yesterday heeded to the Ministerial directive to withdraw the court case against EFAZ, Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia.
In an interview with Breeze News, the Director, Michael Daka expressed happiness with the ministerial decision to allow TBZ to run the floors this year.
And the farmers made a mockery funeral of EFAZ with a coffin following the decision by the minister to choose TBZ to run the floors instead of EFAZ.
Government says that it is unfair, unfounded and unfortunate for opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to accuse Government of sponsoring cadres to harass him when he featured on Sun FM Radio in Ndola last weekend.
Chief government spokesperson, Joseph Katema says the PF government is disciplined and does not condone lawlessness and indiscipline by anyone regardless of their political affiliation.
Dr. Katema says that government, condemns in the strongest terms the impunity and lawlessness exhibited by the so-called party cadres at Ndola’s Sun FM Radio where Mr Hichilema was due to feature on a radio programme.
The chief government spokesperson says that it is therefore, baseless for Mr Hichilema to threaten to take Government to the Hague, let alone call for the resignation of President Michael Sata.
And Dr. Katema has condemned opposition leaders who are inciting their members to take the law in their hands by arming themselves.
This is contained in a press statement availed to Breeze News.
Police in Kasama have arrested a 25 year old man for allegedly having had unlawful carnal knowledge of a chicken.
Police Deputy Spokesperson, Rae Hamoonga has confirmed the incident in a statement availed to Breeze News.
Mr. Hamoonga says that it is alleged that on Sunday around midnight, Frazer Kasonde Bwalya went in the chicken run belonging to Dennis Mutale of Nkole village in Kasama where he got hold of a chicken and had unlawful carnal knowledge of it.
Upon confronting him, Bwalya admitted having forced himself on the chicken.
Mr. Hamoonga says that the suspect was later taken to the chieftains who later handed him over to the Police together with the dead chicken.
The police spokesperson says that the chicken was taken to Veterinary and findings were that it died out of the same act.
The suspect has been detained in Police custody and charged with unnatural offence contrary to the Laws of Zambia and will appear in court soon.
Confusion has deepened over who will run the floors for this year’s tobacco marketing season in Eastern Province.
During a meeting held by Agriculture minister, Wilbur Simuusa with various stakeholders, the farmers again refused to allow EFAZ, Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia run the floors.
The meeting also heard that about six associations led by CDFA, Chipata District Farmers Association want to run the floors.
And CDFA Provincial Coordinator, Virgil Malambo said that the association was formed to safeguard the interest of tobacco farmers in Eastern Province.
However, some farmers did not agree with the CDFA over its interest to run the floors.
Johabie Mtonga, wondered how the floors can be entrusted to be run by an association recently formed, adding that they did not have the experience to run the floors.
And Yaku Daya said that most of the organizations in the association were not known to the farmers and so could not be used to run the tobacco floors.
And after the deliberations the agricultural minister who was supposed to announce his decision on who will run the Tobacco floors, deferred his decision to Wednesday.
Mr Simuusa however, directed all court cases surrounding the running of the Tobacco floors to be withdrawn once he announces his decision.
Some villagers in Sisinje ward of Chipata district have complained of being neglected by their area councilor, Samuel Lugomo Phiri.
Sandy Banda and Clement Zulu have told Breeze News that Mr. Phiri has not visited their area from the time he was voted into office.
The due complained of the poor state of Mtewe-Kaliyoyo road and lack of access to safe drinking water.
Mr. Banda and Mr. Zulu say that more than 800 villagers in the area are forced to share one borehole.
But when contacted for comment, Mr. Phiri said that the villagers should understand that the time for politicking is now over.
Mr. Phiri said that he has been visiting various parts of the ward explaining to people the plans that he has put in place to facilitate rehabilitation of the road and address the problem of drinking water.
He says that Chipangali Constituency has purchased machinery at a cost of over 1 million Kwacha to be used for drilling boreholes while money will be set aside to repair Mtewe bridge and the road.
Water supply has been disconnected to the Saturday market in Chipata for almost a week now.
Chipata Municipal council Public Relations Officer, Taonga Kaonga confirmed this to Breeze News stating that supply was disconnected on Tuesday last week.
Ms Kaonga says the market owes the water utility company 700 Kwacha in unpaid bills.
And Ms Kaonga says the local authority has raised the money and that payment will be made on Tuesday.
She says the council is working on the payment plan that will not see the council in the same situation again.
The public relations officer says that water supply is supposed to be restored immediately the payment is made.
Most pregnant women in Tafelansoni Ward of Chadiza district are reportedly shunning from delivering from a local clinic.
Ward Councillor Morris Zulu says most mothers in the area do not deliver from the health posts because the maternity wing is attached to the outpatient department.
They said that this provides little privacy, which is making the women unconfortable.
He has called on government to expand the clinic as it is a zonal center and helping more than 2,000 people.
And District Commissioner, Paul Phiri says that the clinic will be upgraded, especially the maternity wing.
Mr. Phiri also advised the area councillor to put the project under CDF, the Constituency Development Fund.
He says that the PF, Patriotic Front government is very committed to the mothers to have safety and health deliveries.