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KENYA’S ACQUISITION OF LAND IN ZAMBIA RUFFLES FEATHERS

By Lumbiwe Mwanza

GOVERNMENT should have empowered local farmers by giving them more land and other incentives to produce more food for the readily available market in Kenya instead of giving land away, the Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) has said.

The Ministry of Agriculture has hobbled over reports in Kenya suggesting that Zambia has given 20,000 hectares of land to Kenyan farmers to grow maize to cushion that country’s food deficit according to a statement attributed to Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

But speaking to The Scoop today, ZLA Executive Director Patrick Musole says if the story is true, then it is unfortunate as Zambia has missed a golden opportunity to amass full benefits through Foreign Exchange.

Mr. Musole says Zambia should have just empowered its farmers with extra land and other incentives and produce more for the readily-available market in Kenya.

He says it is shocking that the Government has changed its statements on such a commendable move that only required to put the interest of Zambians first.

“The announced project of the development of farm blocks for the Kenyan farmers in each province was okay but first of all the interest of Zambians is supposed to be taken care of” Mr. Musole said.

Mr. Musole said foreign investors needed to partner with local people in active sectors like mining and agriculture whenever an opportunity arose if poverty levels in Zambia were to be reduced.

“We cannot have this information in the media and then refute, what we need to do is to first look at the plight of Zambians as investors continue to come, foreign investors should partner and not displace the local people” Mr. Musole added.

He has reminded Government that land in Zambia is for Zambians and that all planned projects involving foreign investors should be centered on the welfare of the local people

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