President Hakainde Hichilema has called on the Zambia Jiangxi Economic Cooperation Zone (ZJECZ) in Chibombo to create space for small scale farmers and enable them to process and add value to their agricultural produce in the Multi-economic Facility Zone (MFEZ).
The President was speaking during the commissioning of the multi-facility economic zone in Chibombo yesterday said the facility was not just for commercial farmers but be opened to small scale farmers so that they could add value to their drops and grow their businesses.
He said small scale farmers should be able to process their produce such as tomatoes at multi-facility economic zone.
“This facility is not just for large businesses but you should create space for small scale farmers so that they will be able to process their produce such as tomatoes, tomatoes should not leave Chibombo in a raw form but instead should be processed into various products,” said Mr Hichilema.
He said the multi-facility zone should also venture into the processing of wheat, maize, cotton, soya beans and marigold which were all produced in Central Province and should also create jobs.
The President thanked the Chinese government for the speed implementation of various agreements made during his recent visit in China which had now led to the commissioning of the multi-facility economic zone.
Mr Hichilema further called on the industries that would invest at the multi-facility economic zone to also cater for small scale farmers and manufacture irrigation equipment for smaller from hectarage, starting one hectare and also a motor vehicle assembly for tractors.
He said Zambia and China had enjoyed good bilateral relationship which saw the creation of the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) line which had made Zambia become land linked.
He called on the traditional leaders in the country to also learn from the Chinese and also inculcate that to their subjects.
“I would like to thank the Chinese government for putting together our last visit and that is why we are here. Traditional leaders encourage your subjects to emulate what others have done,” he said.
The President said the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) was not only about maize but other crops such as potatoes.
Speaking at the same function vice-governor of Jiangxi Province Ren Zhufeng said a total of 38 industries that had been set up in Zambia were from his province. Mr Ren said the country had vast land and most Chinese companies would be willing to invest in agriculture, technology and mining.
He said Zambia and China enjoy a good cordial relationship which had been strengthened because of strategic cooperation.
And Chairperson of the Jiangxi International Economic Cooperation Zhang Jian’an said the multi-facility economic zone was the first for Jiangxi province.
Mr Zhang said they were encouraging companies from Jiangxi to invest in Zambia in enterprises such as agreements between the Chinese Companies with the Zambia Development Agency.
Among the traditional leaders who attended the construction, mining and launch were Senior Chief manufacturing.
He said the multi- facility zone provided an opportunity for Jiangxi products at the same function’ the President witnessed the signing of trade Mboroma, Chief Chitanda Lumamba, Chief Chitina, Chief Chibale, Chief Muchinda, Chief Liteta, Chief Mulendema, Chief Kaundula, Chief Chamuka and Chief Shaibila