By John Chola
Chieftainess Shimukunami of the Lamba speaking people of Lufwanyama has crowned Grizzly Mining Limited (GML) a whole weather friend to the six chiefdoms of the district.
The traditional leader cited GML’s swift response to help rescue farmers’ infested fields by army worms as one of the many commendable gestures worth acknowledging.
Chieftainess Shimukunami was speaking at Lufwanyama Council on January 25th when GML donated a consignment of pesticides to local farmers in the area.
She noted that GML has for many years been there for various challenges faced by the people of Lufwanyama district.
“Today once again we have gathered here at Lufwanyama district council premises to receive a gift from Grizzly Mine. This company has come a long way with us responding to so many of our challenges in the area. This is a true friend, a true corporate citizen who have held us closely,” said Chieftainess Shimukunami.
The traditional leader noted that in the past over seven years farmers’ crops were ravaged by army worms but because of GML’s quick and kind response with pesticides, Lufwanyama district had been spared from declaring hunger.
Chieftainess Shimukunami declared that because of GML support to encourage farming in the area, she too had been able to record high yields from some of her fields hence encouraging the subjects to double their efforts.
“To you Grizzly Mine please continue with this same spirit of being a whole weather friend and supplementing government effort of empowering farmers so that Zambia remains self-sufficient with food. Let me also on behalf of all the six chiefs here in Lufwanyama declare here that whatever challenges you many experience in your operations, we are all here for you, to be part of the solution,” Chieftainess Shimukunami said.
The traditional leader commended GML for continuing to plough back its profits into the community by supplementing government efforts to fight hunger poverty and drive the economic development agenda.
“It is our prayer as traditional leaders that this land is blessed with a lot of minerals so that Grizzly Mine stays here and continue supplementing government efforts in empowering people especially farmers in this regard,” the Chieftainess said.
GML Mine Manager Langson Mukuma who represented the company at the handover said they were aware that the maize crop was not only the staple food but also a source of income for many farmers especially the small scale farmers.
He said noted that a lot of peasant farmers depend on the crop for food as well as earn income to not only sustain their families but provide for education and health needs for their children.
“This donation is in line with another strong commitment that our firm made a few years ago to support farmers whose fields are ravaged by fall armyworms and it is therefore, imperative that urgent measures are taken to protect whatever crop is available in areas where there has been good rains such as lufwanyama,” Mukuma said.
Mukuma said GML sincerely believed that everything should be done to save the maize crop in the district which when harvested can be also sold to other areas of the country.
The pesticides being donated will go to the people in all the chiefdoms in Lufwanyama area namely Chief Lumpuma, Chief Nkana, Chieftainess Shimukunami, Chief Fungulwe, Chief Shibuchinga and Chief Mukutuma.
Mukuma assured the Chiefs that GML will endeavour to work with them and the community at large and will try to provide support to the Lunfyanyama community whenever possible.
“We will always ensure that we contribute to the fight against poverty and enhance food security. It is company policy to interact with hosting communities and provide necessary intervention where possible in our quest to better the living standards of the local people.
And it is in this vein that we will partner with the government of Zambia in all areas that make it possible to uplift the living standards of the people as demonstrated by today’s donation,” Mukuma declared.
Lufwanyama District Agricultural Coordinator (DACO) Sekanayo Ng’ambi said on the average 3000 hectors of maize is under attack by army worms.
Ng’ambi explained that more than 6500 households could be at risk of losing their crop and on the average 3000 hectors of maize were under attack by army worms.