By Lawrence Kabutu

Minister of Information and Media Cornelius MWEETWA says government will make maize more accessible and affordable as a way of mitigating the draught situation.

 Mr. MWEETWA called on people to avoid panic buying as government is putting measures in place to make the staple food affordable and at a fair cost to Zambians.

 Mr. MWEETWA who is also Chief Government Spokesperson was reacting to revelations that    61,000 hectares of planted area with various field crops has been devastated by drought in Southern Province.

 And Mr.  Mweetwa says government has banned export of maize and mealie meal including maize products such as maize bran or any other feed.

 He observed that Southern Province has 47,203 metric tonnes of non genetically modified maize grain dotted in Food Reserve Agency Storage sheds across the province.

 Southern Province Agricultural Coordinator Dr. Max CHOOOMBE who was briefing the Minister in Kalomo said 282,000 farmers have been affected with total crop failure.

 Dr. CHOOMBE noted that even it rained the crop has been completely destroyed by the drought experienced in the province.

 He named Namwala and Sinazongwe as the waste affected districts in Southern Province by drought.

 Kalomo District Commissioner Joshua SIKADULI expressed happiness with the stocks of Food Reserve Agency Maize made available as community sales.

 And the Zambia Correctional Services in Kalomo has appealed to government for irrigation equipment to use at their farm to engage in Winter Maize Production.

 Kalomo Correction Service Officer –In- Charge Superintendent Ernest CHIBWELU says the farm has suffered total crop failure affecting the 35 hectares that was under maize production because of drought. 

 Mr. CHIBWELU made the call when Minister of Information and Media Cornelius MWEETWA toured the Kalomo Correctional Service Farm to ascertain the state crop following the ravaging drought.

 Mr. CHIBWELU to the Minister that the Correction Service Farm in Kalomo produced 1,204 by 50 kilogramme bags of Maize last season.

 And Mr, MWEETWA who is also Chief Government Spokesperson assured the Kalomo Correction Service that following President Hakainde Hichilema’s directive for Defence Wings to engage in Winter Maize Production irrigation equipment will be provided to them.

 Mr. MWEETWA said the appeal by Kalomo Correctional Service for irrigation equipment to recapitalize the farm was a right call as they are the targeted institutions of government that must be in the forefront in producing winter maize.

 Meanwhile a farmer in Malenda Camp in Kalomo Muleya MUDENDA appealed for Solar boreholes for irrigation.