September 12, 2005

Government to correct land distribution, minister says

Government is determined to implement corrective measures in all areas where land was wrongly acquired and obtained countrywide, Lands Minister Gladys Nyirongo has said. Reverend Nyirongo, who has just concluded touring the Copperbelt Province, said, her ministry was committed to ensuring that sanity returned in the manner land was being allocated. According to her, there was ignorance among Zambians on how they should acquire land, making it easier for "the self proclaimed chairmen to take advantage of the situation."

The minister said Government would not allow illegal activities to continue saying the Commissioner of Lands was acquainted with all land matters and knew exactly what people should do before acquiring plots. Nyirongo urged the people to report to the ministry any person found wanting on matters of land or hijacking powers of the councils. The minister also announced that her ministry would soon carry out sensitisation campaigns to enlighten people on issues regarding land allocation adding that there was widespread land abuse in Zambia

Before, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mundia Sikatana has warned foreign commercial farmers who have taken advantage of the maize shortage in some parts of country to stop exploiting small-scale farmers. Sikatana said in Lusaka that Government would not allow exploitation of small-scale farmers but instead would protect their interests by buying maize from them through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). "We want our local farmers to enjoy their labour not to have someone take advantage of them especially the commercial farmers who buy maize from them at cheap prices and later resale at a higher price," he said. He also expressed sadness at some millers who were selling Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) roller mealie meal which has since been confiscated. He said it was unfortunate that one miller sold GMO mealie meal even when Government had prohibited the use and importation of the products in the country. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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