Serenje official laments use of dry cassava by manganese plants, says hunger ravaging community


Chieftainess Serenje of the Lala people of Serenje District, Central Province has taken a swipe at manganese processing plants that are using dry cassava in place of coal, as a source of energy to process manganese ore.

Serenje explained that hunger was ravaging her area because her subjects had sold out cassava meant for household consumption.

In a statement during a traditional leader’s caucus in the district on Sunday, the traditional leader said processing plants had been buying cassava at low prices after promising to pay better perks.

“Cassava issue plus poor salaries in processing plants is wreaking havoc in my Chiefdom. I have since recorded rising suicide cases because of mistreatment by investors. They are humble when coming but very harsh after investing. If we knew earlier, we would have rejected their proposals to invest in our Chiefdoms,” she said.

Read more: Cassava brown streak disease responsible for 55% loss of cassava production annually —CABI reports

Meanwhile Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) Board Member, Emmanuel Mutamba, said Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) only allowed processing plants to use coal from Sinazongwe District, Central Province.

Adding to the discussions, Serenje District Commissioner Paul Masuwa said government should investigate the matter to ensure compliance to set operational standards.

“Let us work together. Do not hide information but bring it to me as your servant and a representative of the President in Serenje. We have relevant wings of government to sort out such things and some can be arrested,” he said.

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