Wina to grace Kulamba ceremony

Vice President Inonge Wina is expected to grace this year’s Kulamba traditional ceremony of the Chewa people of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says various ministers are also expected to attend the ceremony.

He says that President Edgar Lungu had loved to grace the ceremony, but will be busy with other national matters.

Mr. Kasolo also says most things are in place for the ceremony which takes place this Saturday at Mkaika headquarters in Katete district.

And Mr. Kasolo says the ceremony is important as it brings together people of the three countries.

He also says Kulamba ceremony is a big tourism attraction.

The permanent secretary reiterated the call by the organisers of the ceremony that no one should put on any political attire.

Loan conditions eased

Small and Medium enterprises SMEs, will now have opportunities to use movable assets to acquire loans from commercial banks, under the introduction of the Movable Property Security Interest Act.

Patents and Companies Registration Agency PACRA, Inspector of Companies Lloyd Musonda says, over seven hundred loans have so far been given to SMEs using the new act which was introduced last year.

Mr. Musonda says the movable property Security Interest Act stipulates that SMEs will be allowed to get loans from the banks using personal or movable property as collateral.

Speaking during a one day workshop this morning in Chipata, Mr. Musonda says under the Act, the risk of borrowing has been reduced.

He says due to the reduction of policy rate, his organization expects banks to reduce the rate at which they are lending to SMEs.

Mr. Musonda says SMEs can use vehicles, Agriculture equipment, Agriculture products such as cattle and households goods as collateral.

He says PACRA will be used as registration point for SMEs to start the process of accessing loans using the Movable assets.
The workshop has drawn participants from farmer organizations and some NGO’s, Non-governmental Organizations.

ZEMA considers projects worth US 383 million.

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency ZEMA in July this year considered projects with an estimated investment of 383 million United States dollars.

This brings the total estimated investment from January to July this year to about 11 billion United States dollars.

ZEMA Acting Manager for Corporate Affairs, Alexander Museshyo has confirmed this to Breeze News in a statement.

Mr. Museshyo states that in July, 2017, ZEMA considered a total of 63 Environmental Impact Assessment EIAs reports from various developers covering all sectors of development across the country.

He says that out of the 63 projects, 59 were approved, two were deferred pending submission of additional information from affected developers while two were rejected.

Mr. Museshyo says that the investment projects are in areas of energy, urban development, prospecting and mining, manufacturing and processing, agriculture and forestry and tourism.

He says that submitted projects were mainly from Energy and Development sectors.

FRA buys over 396,000 bags of maize

The Food Reserve Agency FRA has so far purchased 396,000 by 50 kilogrammes bags of maize in Eastern Province.

FRA Provincial Marketing Officer, Felix Moyo has told Breeze News that this is from a target of 720,000 bags, which are supposed to be bought from the region.

Mr. Moyo says that so far, the agency has recorded an overwhelming response from farmers, which has seen FRA increasing the number of satellite depots in four districts.

These are Chipata where depots have been increased by two and Chadiza, Lundazi and Chama where depots have been increased by one.

Meanwhile Mr. Moyo says that no satellite depot in Eastern Province including Chadiza district has run out of empty grain bags.

He says that each of the depots was given 8,000 empty grain bags and that none of the depots has bought more than 8,000 bags of maize from farmers.

And FRA Quality Controller, Clyde Muuza has advised farmers to ensure that they properly clean their maize before taking it to the depots.

Mr. Muuza says that the agency is emphasising on cleaned maize to ensure that the process of buying the produce is smooth.

He further stated that FRA is only buying maize produced in the 2016-2017 farming season.

Chiefs start arriving for Kulamba

Chewa Chiefs from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, have started arriving at Mkaika Chewa Headquarters in Katete district, for the 2017 Kulamba Traditional Ceremony.

Kulamba Ceremony Organizing Committee treasurer, Chief Chanje, confirmed this to Breeze News.

Chief Chanje says senior Chief Lukwa and others from Malawi arrived yesterday, while from Mozambique, Chiefs Chimwala, Kaduku and others are also already at Mkaika.

He says the rest of the Chewa Chiefs from the three countries are expected to arrive today, in readiness for rehearsals and selection of dances to perform on Saturday.

Chief Chanje says preparations have reached advanced stage, with only last touches remaining.

Meanwhile, Chief Chanje has urged motorists ferrying people to Mkaika, to follow traffic rules such as avoiding over speeding and driving while drunk.

He says this will help prevent accidents.

ZNFU unhappy with FRA

The Zambia National Farmers Union, ZNFU, has accused the FRA of swindling farmers through its insistency on maintaining the buying price at 60 Kwacha per 50 kilogram bag of maize.

ZNFU President, Jervis Zimba, says the low prices are a clear demonstration of how farmers are being swindled by a government institution.

This is according to a statement issued to Breeze News.

Mr. Zimba says FRA is pegging the price of maize at below the cost of production when it is supposed to balance the prices, both for mealie meal and maize production.

He also warned farmers that have supplied maize to FRA that they have done so at their own risk, as the agency has been classified as a briefcase buyer this year.

Mr. Zimba says FRA is not buying maize, but actually swindling farmers, as the agency is not even paying cash.

He says ZNFU is aware that some farmers will be deceived with few early payments, but farmers will only get paid after four or five months.

Mr. Zimba says buying maize at 60 Kwacha will subject farmers to abject poverty, as they will be unable to meet most of their family needs.

Female juvenile discharged over child desertion

The Chipata Magistrate Court this morning discharged a case involving a female juvenile of Chipata district, on one count of child desertion, contrary to the laws of Zambia.

The case which was before Magistrate Philp Mphundu was discharged after the state made an application that the case be discharged.

Facts of the matter are that the juvenile, on dates unknown, but in May 2017, jointly and while acting together with her mother, deserted a child and left it without means of support.

The mother of the Juvenile is currently serving a 10 months sentence over the same case.

The duo allegedly abandoned a new baby in the nearby bush, which was concealed in a chitenge material and tied in a sack.

The baby was taken to the hospital for care by members of the community, while the two were apprehended.

According to investigations, the accused took the baby into the bush on pretext that the baby was dead and left it unattended.

Magistrate Mphundu has however, warned the juvenile not to repeat her mistake and ordered that she be taken to the Social Welfare office for counselling.

The juvenile’s mother was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment with hard labour on July 11th 2017, after admitting to the offence.

FRA opens two more depots in Chipata

The Food Reserve Agency, FRA in Chadiza district has so far purchased over 47,100 by 50 kilogram bags of maize.

This is out of the district target of 96,000 bags.

Chadiza District Agricultural Coordinator, Kabange Masenga, confirmed this to Breeze News today.

Mr. Masenga said FRA has also purchased 1,090 by 50 Kilogram bags of soya beans as of August 19th 2017.

He said the response from farmers is overwhelming and farmers will be paid soon.

And Mr. Masenga refuted claims by some farmers that in some depots, farmers are being turned away because the agency has stopped buying crops after meeting the targets.

He explained that there are three depots that had run out of empty grain bags, which forced officers to stop buying, as they waited to be supplied with empty bags.

He said that the empty bags will soon be supplied to the affected depots, insisting that FRA will continue buying crops until the district target is met.

ZABS publishes 170 additional standards

The Zambia Bureau of Standards ZABS has published 170 additional standards between January and August 2017.

ZABS Head of Marketing and Public Relations Hazel Zulu says that this is to help support the agriculture and leather industries in terms of value addition, growth and sustainability.

Ms. Zulu has told Breeze News in a statement that most of the additional standards that have been published are focused on providing guidelines, requirements and specifications for various products and processes in the agriculture and leather sectors.

She says that the move has also been taken in a bid to support government emphasis on the diversification and prioritization of agriculture and other sectors other than mining, to grow the economy.

Ms. Zulu says that the Bureau is pleased to provide the much needed support to the industry to help them grow the economy and contribute effectively to national food security.

Some of the standards that have been published include the standards on maize grain specification, wheat flour specification and rice specification.

Ms. Zulu says that ZABS is confident that these additional standards if used consistently and effectively will help industry players to develop and process good quality products.

Police officer testifies how friend was shot dead

A police officer under the Criminal Investigation Department at Chipata Central Police Station, this morning testified in the Chipata High Court, how he survived, after being shot, during an operation, at a check point in Lusaka.

Sargent Jonathan Kapolyo, who made a request from the court to sit down when he became a bit emotional, said his colleague Sargent Banda, who was also shot, lost his life, during the operation.

He said that he and three other police officers were on their way to Lusaka to apprehend other suspects allegedly involved in a robbery that took place in Mwami area in Chipata, on October 14th 2016.

He named the suspects that were apprehended in Nyimba and Chongwe districts as Emmanuel Mulenga, Stephen Mafuta, Michael Lungu, Royd Mukutu and Ricker Ndila.

Sargent Tembo told the court that the police officers recovered an AK 47 Rifle, a magazine containing 24 rounds of ammunition and a fire arm after a search that was conducted in both Nyimba and Chongwe districts respectively.

The matter which is before Lusaka based Judge, Maria Mapani Kawimbe, continues.