Farmers protest in Chibombo District
Chitambo, August 28TH, 2014, ZANIS — FARMERS in Katikulula B resettlement in Chitambo District staged a peaceful protest demanding that government addresses the many challenges being experienced in the resettlement Scheme.
The farmers said they do not have access to clean water, no good road network, bridges, a health centre and they lack a depot near the area.
This comes after farmers from Katikulula B last week complained that they have been forced to sell their maize in Katikulula A because the area does not have a depot.
The visibly angered farmers said they have huge stacks of maize but wondered where they would sell their produce as the available depots are very far.
They said a slab was built in the area with their man power in readiness for the sale of their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) but they have only been receiving promissory statements.
The farmers said lives have been lost and women have delivered on the way as they have to travel over 20 kilo meters to reach Chitambo Hospital adding that most women have resorted to Traditional Birth Attendants.
One farmer who is visually impaired said he was happy when government took him to the scheme but he has been facing several challenges since his arrival.
He said once he cultivates he usually has nowhere to sell his produce adding that farming is his only source of livelihood.
“Government brought me here so that I can not be in the streets but since I came here I have been suffering a lot. When I cultivate I have nowhere to sell my maize and farming is my only source of income,” he lamented.
And a youth farmer said youths in Katikulula also want to be self reliant and proactive but the challenges faced hinder their progress and efforts.
“We as youths want to be self reliant and to do great things but we are failing because we are facing a lot of challenges,” he said.
Katikulula Resettlement Scheme is the largest Scheme in Zambia and was created in 1988 and after demarcations, 1,555 farm plots were demarcated and given to farm settlers.
Since its inception, Katikulula has 16 communal pumps but out of that number, only 3 are functioning and that is the only source of clean water for the farmers.
Farmers have built shallow wells to use for water while others fetch from the nearby rivers like the Mulembo and Lusansu Rivers.