THE Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) expects to spend about K5.5 million to compensate more than 1,000 famers affected by the construction of the 40 mega watts Kabompo hydro power station being constructed at a cost of US$220 million.
The CEC and Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) have also partnered to build capacity of the misplaced farmers in the area.
CEC head of resources and administration in Kabompo, Jerry Kalulu said this in Solwezi on Tuesday when his delegation paid a courtesy call on North-Western Province Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga.
He said his team had been informed that financing for the project was ready and that the corporation would start paying the affected community before the end of June this year.
Mr Kalulu said that was the more reason the corporation had brought ZDA on board so that it could try and build capacity among the farmers in that area.
ZDA enterprise development manager Innocent Melu challenged the affected farmers to mobilise and position themselves to a level where they would be able to exploit opportunities, which would be created by the agency in terms of capacity building.
Mr Melu said ZDA was developing a programme which was aimed at developing the farmers’ capacity so that they could take advantage of various opportunities in the area and move to a level where they would commercialise their products.
“We want the farmers to take advantage of various opportunities which will be created out of this scheme and move to a level where they can position themselves to exploit activities and commercialise their products,” Mr Melu said.
He said ZDA would also assist farmers access the market for both local and exports, considering that access to market was one major challenge farmers were faced with.
Mr Melu said ZDA was eying the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola because the potential in terms of agricultural products was huge.
“But then famers need to be mobilised so that capacity building could follow suit. So we expect this intervention to create over 1,000 direct jobs.
“So the money CEC is going to give them will just leverage on what farmers are already doing in the community,” he said.
ZDA which in 2012 undertook a skills gap analysis to assess where farmers stood in terms of skills, had since captured information on what farmers were doing and other opportunities they could take advantage of.
Mr Malupenga advised ZDA to cut down on the time frame in terms of the study on the programmes and focus on capacity building so that people could see the benefits of their investment.
He said it was important that ZDA moved with time and prepared the ground for affected farmers by explaining to them the opportunities and benefits of the project.
Times of Zambia