Group clamours for emergency govt intervention to deal with impending drought, food scarcity


The People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) has called on the government to divert the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to establish an emergency irrigation systems in the country.

PAC leader, Andyford Banda, said panic was now evident on most peasant farmers who are about to lose their crops and annual expected income due to the prolonged dry.

Banda in a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday, stated that the emergency irrigation system would help most affected peasant farmers to prepare to grow winter maize.

He advised government to treat this with the sense of urgency, saying the sooner this was done, the better.

“We also urge them to set aside other emergency funds to help the farmers with inputs,” the PAC leader advised.

Banda stated that this would not only help the farmers with their own food but enable them to still supply excess to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

He suggested that government should urgently put through a plan to empower most of rural farmers with irrigation systems to help diversify their crop and income stream, and save their crops.

“We advised the government way before to put measures in place looking at the rainfall pattern for the 2023/24 farming season to avoid a famine,” Banda said.

He stated that PAC recognised the fact that certain disasters such as the current weather situation had affected not only Zambia but other countries in the region.

Banda noted that this could not be blamed on governments because they were natural calamties but that, however, it did not mean that government should sit idle and take things for granted.

“But this is just part of the catastrophe. The bigger catastrophe will be when the whole country will have almost nothing to eat from the staple food which is maize,” he said.

Banda stated that government, not having a plan today on how they would avert this crisis was another case of being reactive as opposed to being proactive.

He added that secondly, Minister of Agriculture, Reuben Mtolo, indicated that the government expected between 100,000 to 150,000 metric tonnes of early maize from commercial farmers.

Read More: Green Economy minister, Nzovu, warns of crop failure, disruptions in power supply as drought threatens

“He specifically said this maize was meant for export because it is expensive but will now be kept due to the current prevailing weather conditions,” the PAC leader said.

Banda cautioned that the over reliance on commercial farmers was misplaced because the majority of peasant farmers, not only grow maize for consumption, but also serves as their main source of income.

He warned that failure by government to be proactive and put in place measures to remedy the situation would create untold hunger and misery and push mealie meal prices further up.

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