Catholic Church invest K 780, 000 at its Batika Farm in Mpika District
Mpika, July 5, 2013, ZANIS —- St. Monica’s Parish of the Catholic Church under Mpika Diocese in Muchinga Province has invested over K 785,000 in agriculture on its 30 hectares Bakita farm land in Kanchibiya Resettlement Farming Block.
ZANIS reports from Mpika that Bakita farm Manager Father Peter Bwalya disclosed this development in an interview in Mpika District today.
Fr. Bwalya said the diocese has decided to venture into agriculture as a way of boosting and sustaining its resources.
He said that his Church decided to go into serious farming so that it can use the funds from this venture to other needy areas.
The clergyman said Bakita farm has about 3500 Macadamia plants in three varieties planted from the time the farm was established in 2009.
He said that the nuts from the plants grown on this farm are very rich in proteins and carbohydrates and can be used as nutrient supplements adding that the nuts are also 100 percent cholesterol free.
Father Bwalya said that various products can be made from the nuts coming from the Macadamia plants and these include cooking oil, chocolates and animal feed, among others.
He said that the Church has plans to start selling nursery plants to other settlers in the scheme under its programme of out-grower scheme.
Father Bwalya said the farm has 10 workers currently but they hope to employ more workers during the harvesting period next year.
He said it is through such ventures that Governments’ tireless efforts of creating employment for Zambians can be achieved and supported.
Father Bwalya stated that the church is also observing and paying workers according to the minimum wage.
The priest has however appealed to the Government through the Resettlement Department under the office of the Vice President to ensure that Kanchibiya Resettlement Scheme is electrified.
He said once the area is electrified, the scheme will be more developed as settlers will increase on production levels adding that settlers are failing to manage their farms due to inadequate water supply coupled with lack of electricity.
Father Bwalya stressed that electricity in the Kanchibiya Farming Block will go a long away in supporting irrigation and promote the growing of more crops at a larger scale.
He added that it will also be easier to water the plants at the Bakita farm once the area has been electrified.
And Bakita farm foreman Anthony Bwalya said money raised from the farm helps him buy farm inputs and it has improved the livelihood of his family.
And Principal Resettlement Officer for Muchinga Province Joshua Banda said the Government has planned to improve the Kanchibiya Resettlement Scheme in Mpika.
Mr. Banda said areas of support by the Government include health, sanitation and education, among others.
He has since called on the settlers in the scheme to work hard and improve on their productivity by growing more crops.