Former President calls for a holistic approach to improve agriculture

Former President Rupiah Banda says that agriculture will only become meaningful, if Zambians start doing things differently.

Speaking when giving the first public lecture for the Eastern University in Chipata last evening, Mr. Banda stated that Zambians needed to change their mind-set by first addressing their faculties.

The former head of state, stated that the emphasis on agriculture programmes, taken by the Eastern University was just an application of a branch of science.

He challenged the university to take a holistic view by looking at a bigger picture and focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mr. Banda advised the university to start with these areas so that people can later branch in other scientific and management faculty like medicine, agriculture sciences, forestry and, tourism.

He also challenged the university to find a way in which it can participate in the science and mathematics teacher fast tracking training programme by the Ministry of Education for would be students.

The former president also referred to a recent news item on Breeze FM, which revealed that Eastern Province needed 4,000 teachers to address its staffing challenges and that the most critical areas are science, mathematics, ICT, Business studies and Zambian languages.

He says that this information and the good performance of pupils from Eastern Province in physics and chemistry in the 2016 grade 12 examinations, proves that there is reasonably a strong base from which the Eastern University could draw it’s would be students for such programmes.

Meanwhile former President Rupiah Banda has advised Zambians to maintain peace in the country.

Speaking to journalists after presenting his lecture for the Eastern University, Mr. Banda stated that without peace, Zambians cannot achieve anything.

He explained that every leader must call for peace to enable every Zambian achieve what they want to do.

And the Ministry of Education in Eastern Province has welcomed the setting up of the Eastern University in Chipata.

Provincial Education Officer, Allan Lingambe says that the approach taken by the university to have a bias towards agriculture is in line with the presidential directive to diversify the economy.

Speaking to journalists, Dr. Lingambe further stated that the aspirations of the university were agreeing with the nations’ aspirations.

He revealed that the Ministry of Education in Eastern Province is opening five schools, which will be centres of excellence in agriculture.

Dr. Lingambe stated that the ministry is currently in the process of identifying the five schools.

He pointed out that to make these schools effective, the ministry will need qualified teachers to man the departments.


Government acknowledges challenges in solar milling plants

Government has acknowledged that some solar milling plants are less efficient.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says the solar milling plants are less efficient because of lacking batteries to support the system.

He says government will soon address challenges faced by cooperatives in operating the solar milling plants.

Speaking during the Voice Program on Breeze FM this morning, Mr. Kasolo says he has already discussed with a technical team from China, who have been installing the solar milling plants, and that the only solution is to provide batteries.

He says affected cooperatives should be patient because the issue will soon be addressed as batteries will be supplied to act as a power back up to the system.

He says a named contractor in Chipata is building a facility that will help cooperatives operate their solar milling plants without challenges.

Mr. Kasolo says when the facility is handed over in the next six weeks, cooperatives will be trained on how to operate the solar milling plants.

NZP Plus in new project

A 34,000 Kwacha project looking at sexual reproductive health for adolescents has kicked off under NZP Plus in Chipata.

NZP Plus Coordinator Cecilia Sakala says that the project will be implemented in partnership with other organizations that include CSPR, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction, YDF, Youth Development Foundation and Breeze FM.

Mrs. Sakala says that the project involves adolescent participation in planning process for HIV and sexual reproductive health services.

She says that the project has a component for budget monitoring and addressing public resource management gaps.

Mrs. Sakala observed that in most cases young people are not involved when planning for activities involving the adolescents.

Mrs. Sakala says that the project is supposed to be implemented for three years depending on the availability of funds being provided by Action Aid Zambia.