The Food Reserve Agency FRA will buy 40,500 metric tonnes of maize in Eastern A of Eastern Province.
Eastern A consists of Chadiza, Chama, Chipata, Lundazi, Mambwe and Vubwi districts.
Provincial Agriculture Coordinator, Dr. Obvious Kabinda has confirmed the development to Breeze News.
Dr. Kabinda says that in Chipata FRA will buy 18,900 metric tonnes of maize, in Lundazi 10,800 metric tonnes of maize while in Chadiza it will buy 3,600 metric tonnes.
Three thousand six hundred metric tonnes will be bought in Vubwi and 900 metric tonnes in both Chama and Mambwe districts.
Dr. Kabinda says that quantities of purchases of maize in Eastern B, which comprises districts like Katete, Sinda and Petauke, will be released later.
The Forestry Department in Eastern Province has seen its budgetary allocation reducing in the last two years.
Provincial Forestry Officer, Sylvester Siame says that in 2014, the budget reduced by 6.3 per cent while this year it has reduced by 4.8 per cent.
He was speaking during a live radio programme dubbed, “Budget Tracking” on Breeze FM this morning.
Mr. Siame explained that in 2013, the department was allocated about 634,000 Kwacha, in 2014 it was allocated about 594,000 while this year, the amount reduced further to about 566,000 Kwacha.
He says that the department was also affected by inconsistence release of money, stating that about 72 per cent of funds allocated under the 2014 National Budget were released.
Mr. Siame also explained that from this year’s budget of 566,343 Kwacha, the department has so far received only 55,000 Kwacha for office administration and utilities.
He however, indicated that the department has been allocated one million Kwacha additional funding from USAID and that so far each district had received about 35,000 Kwacha.
Meanwhile Chipata and Nyakatokoli Forests in Mambwe district have been the most affected by encroachment.
Mr. Siame says that his department has so far issued eviction notices to squatters at Nyakatokoli Forest while in Chipata the department has engaged Chipata Municipal Council to resolve the problem.
He admitted that it was a great challenge to sort out the problem at Chipata Forest but hoped that an amicable solution will be found to protect the forest.
Mr. Siame noted that from the 77 national and local forests in Eastern Province, those close to settlements were the most affected to issues of encroachment.
And Mr. Siame says that the department has over 1,000 logs of Mukula confiscated from illegal traders across the province.
He says that the department has not yet establishment what other purpose Mukula is being used for apart from production of high quality furniture.
Reduced support from partners under the Ministry of Health is posing a threat to the successful implementation of the Voluntary Male Circumcision exercise in Eastern Province that is supposed to kick off this month.
Provincial Medical Officer, Abel Kabalo told Breeze News that most of the partners like SFH, Society for Family Health have drastically reduced their support due to financial challenges.
Dr. Kabalo however, says that government had already reserved money for the voluntary male circumcision campaign, which will be used to cushion the shortfalls.
He says that the last voluntary male circumcision campaign in April this year, was a success as the Province was able to beat its target of 5, 000 males, by about 240.
Eastern Province is again targeting to circumcise 5, 000 males this month, under the Voluntary Male Circumcision month.
Dr. Kabalo however, expressed concern that the Ministry may not be able to reach the target set due to the reduced partner support.
About 1, 200 cattle are targeted for vaccination against the East Coast Fever in Vubwi district this month.
Vubwi District Veterinary Officer, Richard Masiye Banda, says that the exercise, which kicked off yesterday will go on until 27.
Dr. Banda says that his department is facing a serious transport challenge.
He says that this is preventing the department from effectively carrying out vaccination exercises in Vubwi.
This has even forced the department to request for transport from the Forestry Department, but also called on the permanent secretary’s office to come to its aid.
Meanwhile, Dr. Banda says that the district is expected to receive about 21, 000 Kwacha for the New Castle vaccination exercise which is expected to be carried out from August 28 to September 20.
He says that new castle vaccine for the exercise is expected to arrive in the district by Friday.
Dr. Banda also says that about 500 dogs are targeted for vaccination in phase three.
Eastern Province has scooped first position in the Young Farmer’s Productivity category at the 89th National Agriculture and Commercial Show being held in Lusaka.
Provincial Agriculture Coordinator, Obvious Kabinda has confirmed this to Breeze News.
This is in addition to the first overall position the province has scooped in productivity this year, beating other nine provinces.
Dr. Kabinda says that this is the first time Eastern Province has come out first in the Young Farmers Category.
He has attributed this to the new farming methods such as conservation farming and crop diversification, which farmers in the province are practicing.
He added that the early distribution of farming inputs to farmers by the government has also contributed to the high productivity of crops.
Dr. Kabonda has commended the farming community for being active in a number of corporate social responsibilities in the province, making them to come out first at national level.
He urged the farmers to continue working hard and produce more crops in the next farming season so that they maintain the top position.
Preparations to start putting up central tobacco nurseries in Eastern Province have started.
Central nurseries have been necessitated by the drying up of streams where farmers fetch water for their seedlings.
Eastern Foodya Association of Zambia, EFAZ Chairperson, Franklin Mwale, says that currently, suitable sites where the nurseries will be, are being identified.
He was responding to some tobacco farmers, who expressed worry that the process of setting up the nurseries is delaying.
This year’s tobacco growing is under serious threat in Eastern Province, as most streams have dried up before preparations even start.
Preparing for tobacco growing usually start in August.
Three hundred and sixty-six students from Chipata College of Education have graduated with primary diplomas in Education.
The institutions 4th graduation ceremony, which is in association with the University of Zambia, was held yesterday in Chipata.
And speaking at the event, UNZA Vice Chancellor, Dr. Mike Mwala urged the graduating students to have love for their learners, since the career they have chosen calls for a lot of work.
Dr. Mwala says that the newly graduates were fully baked with the new education curriculum, which they will be articulating when teaching pupils in their various schools, where they will be deployed.
He says that out of the 366 graduates, 195 were regular students while 171 were serving teachers who opted to upgrade their qualifications.
Dr. Mwala urged the teachers to continue upgrading their qualifications by studying at higher learning institutions so that the country’s education system is improved.
He also advised teachers to help their pupils in the fight against HIV and AIDS, which he said was among the courses the graduates were taught, so that the scourge is combated.
Meanwhile, Chipata College of Education Principal, Malizani Tembo, said government should introduce distance learning to schools, which are in far flung areas so that a lot of teachers have easy access to upgrading their qualifications.
Serious hunger has hit some parts of Mangwe Ward in Chadiza district.
Mangwe Ward Councillor, Cephas Tembo told Breeze News in Chadiza that unfavourable rains in the 2014-2015 season resulted in poor yield.
Mr. Tembo also indicated that late distribution of farming inputs under FISP, the Farmer Input Support Programme were also to blame for the poor harvest.
He appealed to government through, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to distribute relief maize to the hunger stricken families.
Some tobacco companies are reported to be recovering their loans given to contracted farmers through independent tobacco growers.
Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia EFAZ Chairperson, Franklin Mwale says that independent tobacco farmers have been taken advantage of, due to lack of market for their produce.
Mr. Mwale says that the companies have told independent tobacco farmers that if they want their produce to be bought, they should sell through contracted farmers, who have failed to pay back loans.
He says that the independent farmers are being forced to sell their produce and pay the loans on behalf of contracted farmers to avoid completely losing out.
And Mr. Mwale says that there is very little that EFAZ can do about the matter since some independent farmers were willing to engage in the unfair trade.
Former MMD Provincial Secretary, Samuel Lugomo Phiri has rubbished his expulsion from the party.
Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Phiri says that he does not regret circumstances under which he was expelled from MMD because he was speaking the truth.
He says that he will continue to speak against the leadership of Dr. Nevers Mumba because MMD will soon be wiped out from the political scene if Dr. Mumba continues to lead the party.
Mr. Phiri also condemned the adoption process of the MMD candidate in the Kakumbi local government by-election, stating that procedure was not followed.
He says that the decision to adopt the candidate was made by MMD Provincial Chairperson, Jacob Mwanza and MMD Mambwe District Chairperson, Zephaniah Kaleya.
And Mr. Phiri has promised a serious showdown should MMD go ahead to push for revocation of his election as Sisinje Ward Councillor.
He says that he will re-contest the seat but did not indicate which party he will represent.
Meanwhile MMD Provincial Youth Chairperson, Chembe Daka has equally rubbished his suspension, stating that he will not stop to speak out about the ills in the former ruling party.
Mr. Daka told Breeze News that he will not be intimidated from what he described as the bad leadership which Dr. Nevers Mumba has exhibited.
He has challenged youths in the former ruling party to speak out against anything, which is not right in MMD.