Showing posts with label Lufwanyama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lufwanyama. Show all posts

Monday, 2 January 2017

Army Worms Destroy 3,000 Hectares Of Maize In Lufwanyama

 By Paul Shalala in Lufwanyama
Lufwanyama District Commissioner Miniver Mtesa spraying

Over 3,000 hectares of maize have been destroyed by army worms in Lufwanyama District on the Copperbelt.

This has made Lufwanyama the worst hit district in the province so far.

A check by this blogger in Kakonge area this morning found farmers surveying the damage.

And Lufwanyama District Agricultural Coordinator Aswell Lubungo says the 3,000 hectares affected by army worms are just from the farms surveyed so far.

Mr Lubungo says due to the vastness of the district, not all farmers can be reached to asses the extent of the damage.

Lufwanyama is a mostly rural district and its believed to be the second largest in the country after Mpika.

"Lufwanyama is the most affected district on the Copperbelt. 3,000 hectares have been invaded by army worms, affecting 600 households," said Mr Lubungo.
John Bwalya explaining to farmers how to use the chemicals

He disclosed that farmers were worried with the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Lufwanyama District Commissioner Miniver Mtesa has started distributing chemicals to farmers as the fight against the pests intensifies.

This morning, she gave away chemicals to farmers in Mikuta area.

"We have received over 400 liters of pesticides which we are distributing to farmers. Government wants to ensure that we fight the army worms and reduce chances of a bad harvest," said Ms Mtesa in an interview.

Meanwhile, agricultural experts have embarked on a district-wide sensitization campaign.
Aswell Lubungo sensitizing the farmers in Kakonge village

"This chemical is called sword and it has 500 milliliters. When mixing with a 200 liters drum, you only use 400 milliliters because it is highly concentrated," said John Bwalya, an agricultural assistant who was found in the middle of a sensitization meeting in Kakonge village.

And some farmers spoken to expressed fear that the army worms will affect this year's yield.

"Farmers like me who are not married depend on farming for our livelihood. We send our children to school and feed dependents from money we raise in the fields. Now with these army worms, we don't know how we will survive," said Sharon Mubambe, a 24 year old farmer of Kakonge village.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

How Chinese Phones Are Improving People’s Lives In Zambia

A mobile money transaction
By Paul Shalala 

Jane Malembeka is a 73 year old grandmother of Chief Malembeka’s area in the rural part of Zambia’s Copperbelt Province.

For over 50 years now, she has been practising peasant farming on a small holding which is not even on title.

She lives in an area were land is vested in the hands of the traditional leader and it can be taken away from her anytime the chief decides otherwise.

However, Mrs Malembeka is one of the many Zambians who are loyal to the traditional establishment and she has never had problems over her ownership of land she inherited from her father.

In Masaiti District, there are no banks or financial institutions were the old lady can borrow money to pay for her agricultural activities or buy food for the many orphans and grand children she keeps in her house.

She has no businesses which can earn her income on a weekly or monthly basis.

Her only hope for survival is her children who are all based in Zambia’s capital Lusaka.

An MTN Mobile Money stand
At the end of each month, she receives money through mobile money transfer.

Thanks to her cheap Chinese phone which she bought at K500 ($50) from a local shop, she now makes transactions on the phone.

Once each of her three children – a lady and two men, send her money, she walks three kilometres to a kantemba (grass thatched shop) where she presents the Short Message Services (SMSs) and withdraws her money.

“These mobile transactions have really saved some of us who live in rural areas. We have no banks or other companies which can lend us money. Look, am from withdrawing K2,000 ($200) which my children have sent me, all because of this small mobile phone. Things are better now,” said Mrs Malembeka, with smiles on her face.

Mrs Malembeka is just one of millions of Zambians in the rural areas who benefit from the benefits that digital technology has brought to the nation since mobile phones were introduced over a decade ago.

According to the Bank of Zambia, about three million Zambians use mobile money transactions using phones.

The central bank says the largest players in the sector are Airtel Money, MTN Money, Zoona and SwiftCash.

A Zoona stand
Zoona, which has the most widespread network of mobile money shops in all of Zambia’s 10 provinces, boasts of handling 200,000 transactions on a monthly basis.

“At present, Zoona’s MSE customers process in excess of 200,000 transactions valued at USD 15 million per month,” reads a statement on the company’s website.

For those who live in urban areas, the cheap Chinese phones are also of great help.

Using these locally sold phones, Zambians are now able to pay for their utility bills, make bank transactions and even buy mobile phone airtime.

“These days I no longer go to the bank to transfer money to mum at the village or pay for DSTV. All I do is go to my phone and make the transaction,” said Mulotwa Sichalwe, an engineer of Kitwe District.

To others, phones have brought them relief in their educational endeavours.

16 year old John Tonga is a Grade 12 pupil in rural Lufwanyama District.

With lack of well stocked libraries in the area, John relies on the internet for research.

“I use my phone to study especially history and sciences. I find a wide range of information on the internet for my assignments. When writing essays, I easily find resources online which broaden my understanding of history,” said John, while holding his C8 phone.
Swift Cash is run by ZamPost

Chinese phones have really penetrated the Zambian market due to their low cost of maintenance and cheap prices.

Despite their irritatingly loud ringing tones, these phones have increased the penetration of mobile phones in rural communities.

According to recent statistics by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, about 10 million Zambians have access to mobile phones.

This is out of the country’s estimated total population of 15 million.

The increase in phones has also come with the increase in news delivery and news consumption.

People who were previously isolated from the rest of the nation due to lack of phone, radio or TV signals are now up to date with the latest news.

Just at the click of a button, people in the rural part of the country are now able to watch live TV on their Huawei or Tecno phones.

These two Chinese phone brands offer TV services which have become popular especially among young phone owners.

A Shoprite advertisement
Apart from live streaming, phone owners can now download phone apps such WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and be part of the global conversation.

They can also read about the latest global news and trends on their mobile phones and compete with their counterparts in the urban areas.

All in all, Chinese phones have made the rural part of Zambia interconnected with the rest of the nation and the world.

People who missed out of many things are now more knowledgeable thanks to digital technology.

This has made rural Zambia become an integral part of the rest of the country.

For example, farmers like Mrs Malembeka are now able to follow the price changes of products such as maize (corn), cotton and sunflower using an SMS system which the Zambia National Farmers Union uses to update their members countrywide.

In this way, the old lady cannot send her products to the market when the price has dropped and she will continue monitoring her mobile phone until when she receives an SMS showing that the price has risen and she can now make a bit of money.

Chinese phones have come to stay and as long as the income gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen in Zambia, these phones will continue helping the rural poor.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Kampamba Mulenga: Copperbelt's Only Female Member of Parliament

By Paul Shalala in Kalulushi

She is the only female Member of Parliament among the 22 lawmakers on the Copperbelt.

Newly elected Patriotic Front Kalulushi Member of Parliament Kampamba Mulenga has fought her way to Manda Hill.

She was among several female parliamentary candidates on the Copperbelt who were adopted by various political parties to contest the August 11 parliamentary elections.

However, all her friends lost and she pulled through alone.

Her victory is good news for gender activists but the fact that she is the only female MP in the second largest province in terms of registered voters, is a source of worry to people who follow women politics closely.

Between 2011 and 2016, the Copperbelt had four elected female Members of Parliament in Kabushi (Ndola), Chifubu (Ndola) Chililabombwe and Lufwanyama.

Back to Kampamba, her election has proved that being consistent in politics can also take one to the national stage.

At a personal level, she is a mother of three who still does household chores like any other mother.

When this blogger met her for an interview, the Kalulushi MP was busy in the kitchen preparing food for her family.

Her rise to national prominence is out of hardwork.

"I was first elected party District Treasurer. Later i was elected the first District Chairperson for the Patriotic Front in 2011. At that time, it was difficult to win such a position as a woman and we were still in opposition," said Kampamba.

She says her hard work in the party led to late President Michael Sata recognising her and making her part of his government.

"President Sata later appointed me District Commissioner for Kalulushi."

It is this civil service position which helped position Kampamba well with the people of Kalulushi, a town which has one constituency.

In that role, Kampamba was one of the few female District Commissioners on the Copperbelt.

And even after leaving the office a few years ago, she went back to politics and stealthily prepared for the adoptions ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.

As usual, she was pitted against men within the ruling party but she prevailed.

During the actual elections, she beat all the five men who stood against her.

Now that she has been elected, she has a few words for women on the Copperbelt.
Rashida (left) and Kampamba celebrating their victory

"I will work hard and inspire more women to stand as MPs in 2021. We need more women to take up leadership positions. And for the people of Kalulushi, i want to assure them that i will not disapoint them, i will work towards my campaign promises and develop our constituency," she said.

As she embarks on her five year tour of duty at Manda Hill, the hopes of people in Kalulushi is that she will carry on the mantle and deliver where men could have failed to deliver.

Kampamba is not the only woman elected in Kalulushi.

A number of coucillors are female and the new Mayor of Kalulushi Rashida Mulenga is also female.

Despite sharing the same surname, Rashida and Kampamba are not related.

Their own relation is the quest to develop Kalulushi.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Price Of Zambia's Emeralds Goes Up Due To Value Addition

By Paul Shalala in Lufwanyama
A worker sorting emeralds at Kagem Mine

The price for Zambia's emeralds has risen from $6 in 2008 to the current price of around $60 due to the new policy of value addition.

Kagem Mining Limited, the main producer of emeralds in Zambia, now polishes emeralds at the mine site.

Kagem Mining Limited Director of Operations C. V. Suresh says polishing and perfecting the stones has made them more profitable.

"Previously we never used to polish the emeralds but now they are prepared well before they are auctioned. This is the reason why the price has goine up since 2008," said Suresh in a powerpoint presentation at the mine yesterday.

At present, emaralds mined at Kagem are polished and perfected before they are auctioned in Lusaka.

Before that, Zambia used to export its emeralds in raw form and it fetched little money especially that the stones where auctioned abroad.
An aerial view of Kagem mine
But mining is a risky and dangerous undertaking with cases of accidents in most Zambian mines still alarming.

Last year alone, a total of 13 miners died in Zambian mines whilst on duty.

This record is not good for a mining nation like Zambia that predominantly depends on a sector that contributes over 50% of Government revenue.

At a time when many mines in the country are recording accidents, the opposite is the same with some mines such as Kagem on the Copperbelt Province.

Due to enhanced security and safety measures, the world’s largest emerald mine located in Lufwanyama District has achieved a record that no other mine in the world has achieved.

In the last seven years, the mine has clocked 3.5 million shifts without injuries.

The improved safety record at Kagem Mine has excited Government.

"This safety achievement makes us happy. It shows that Kagem management and workers are doing alot to ensure workers are safe. Losing life is a painful thing," said Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma at a function to celebrate this achievement at Kagem Mine yesterday.

Mr Yaluma later handed over a certificate of achievement to the mine for what he termed as exceptional safety record.
William Nyirenda and Christopher Yaluma

And Kagem Mine Board Chairman William Nyirenda boasted that the 3.5 million injury free shift record has never been achieved anywhere in the world.

"This is a world class record ladies and gentlemen. No where in the world has a mine gone this far without injuries," said Nyirenda, a Kitwe lawyer.

The 3.5 million shifts are counted from 2008 until April 2015.

Currently, Kagem Mine employs over 658 workers and it is about to expand to four other possible sites which will provide more job opportunities for Zambians.
Gemfields owns 75% of the shares while government owns the remaining 25%.