Eastern HODs shun provincial agro show

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–Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Zachariah Luhanga, has expressed disappointment with the absence of Heads of Government Departments at this year’s Agricultural and Commercial Show.

Speaking during the official opening of the show, Mr Luhanga said the occasion was important for Heads of Departments, going by this year’s theme.

He warned that the Provincial Administration would take action accordingly, depending on the explanation that would be given by Heads of Departments for not attending the show.

Mr Luhanga observed that his office would want to know whether the Heads of Departments were in support of government’s policies or not, adding that it was not good that he addressed children when the message was supposed to be received by officers.

‘’ I cannot be addressing children when Heads of Departments are supposed to be here. We want them to explain to us why they are not here so that we also know whether they are with us,’’ he said.

And Eastern Province Minister, Malozo Sichone, said government had increased the beneficiaries of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) by 2, 695 for the 2013/14 farming season in the province.

Mr Sichone said 164, 385 farmers have been targeted to benefit, compared to 161, 690 during the 2012/13 farming season, representing a 1.6 per cent increment.

He was speaking in a speech read for him by regional Acting Assistant Secretary, Zachariah Luhanga, during the official opening of this year’s Eastern Province Agricultural and Commercial Show, under the theme, ‘’ Doing Business in a Changing Environment’’, held in Chipata today.

Mr Sichone said government would continue supporting small scale farmers in the region to enhance food security and income generation.

He also urged cooperative societies to train in business management so that they do not just be active during the period of acquiring agricultural inputs.

‘’As the theme states, I now challenge the cooperatives to rise above board and champion the business potential of cooperatives in the province,’’ Mr Sichone said.

He also urged farmers and business persons in the province to adopt technologies that were environmentally friendly so that climate change effects could be mitigated. .