Lusaka ,23rd Sept 2014
Reports about the PF government failing to pay farmers in several parts of the country that supplied maize and rice to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) are shameful and embarrassing if not frustrating.
It is painful to hear complaints from our farmers not being paid long after they supplied their produce because the government allegedly has no money, yet they are quick to flash lots of money during by-elections. The PF spent a lot of money in Mangango by-elections, let alone the 5 past by-elections that could have easily cost us 60 million kwacha. Fellow farmers 60 million kwacha would pay for 850,000 bags of maize or 1,000 farmers if each of them produced 850 bags of Maize. But we know colleagues that no subsistence farmer can produce 8oo bags of maize.
Lusaka .23 Sept 2014
The United Nations 2013 Hunger Report released last week by three of the United Nations’ agencies, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) indicates that undernourishment prevalence in Zambia is second only to Haiti in the world and first in Africa. This is an embarrassing and humiliating report for a peaceful country that has enjoyed a steady economic growth of over 6% per annum in the last few years. The report uses data obtained from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey and some have been dismissive of the findings, however, subsequent surveys by the National Food and Nutrition Commission of Zambia (NFNC) and a recent UNICEF Report are consistent with the 2013 Hunger Report.
There has been no official response by the Zambian government to the UN Report. The most likely explanation for the silence from the PF government is that they do not understand the implications of this Report and therefore have no solutions to the problem of undernourishment. It also demonstrates further the far reaching negative implications of the removal of subsidies on maize and fuel and their effect on the quality of life of our people. A consequence we warned of but which PF in their usual arrogance consistently ignored.
Stunting, a major consequence of undernourishment, its effects typically become permanent. Stunted children may never regain the height lost as a result of stunting, and most children will never gain the corresponding body weight. Brain development can be an issue in stunted children because there are specific micronutrients that the brain needs in order to grow optimally. Stunting also leads to premature death later in life because vital organs never fully develop during childhood. Close to 50% of children under five years of age, that is about one million children are stunted in Zambia, this is the catastrophe we are facing.
The UPND believes in “more food on the table” as the solution to undernourishment; not only more food but the right food as well. These are the interventions we propose that Government can take to mitigate undernourishment and stunting. First let the Government re-introduce food subsidies for the more that 60% Zambians that are poor yet these same people are requested to spend 70% of their meagre income on food, that is not even adequate to meet their dietary requirements. This means that a food subsidy will be particularly helpful to poor families as they will almost certainly afford to buy more food. The removal of subsidies on the staple food by the PF government was not only highly irresponsible but negligent of poor peoples’ needs. PF removed subsidies and then chooses to introduce a social cash transfer system that is badly targeted and cannot sustain any human being. In addition to subsidies, subsidies must actually be preceded or accompanied by educational and promotional efforts, reducing the size of cabinet and cutting down on government bureaucracy could fund feeding programs for thousands of children and pregnant mothers. A lot of people especially in rural areas of Zambia are engaged in subsistence farming. In the long term, implementing sound agriculture policy will inevitably increase household income and food security.
Lusaka 17th September 2014
STATEMENT ON GARY FOR PRESIDENT FAKE CAMPAIGN ON FACEBOOK
I have been on tour of duty for my party UPND and my country within and outside Zambia the past two months. I have recently been alerted of the existence of a fake facebook page that has been created in my name purporting that I want to take over the presidency of the UPND with immediate effect. I want to assure our supporters across the country that that is a total hoax and clearly work of some of our enemies who we know are facing serious leadership wrangles in their party and now want to transfer the same hate and anarchy to our peaceful party the UPND.