ABOUT 861 farmers in Kalumbila district of North-Western Province have taken up cassava growing which they will sell to Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML) to be processed into starch for use by the mining company.
KML, through Trident Foundation, has empowered the local farmers from across the communities in the area.
Trident Foundation agriculture livelihood manager Stuart Brent said in an interview that the mining company spent K245,000 to buy cassava stems from Mansa and surrounding areas which were transported to Kalumbila to be distributed to the local farmers who have taken up cassava farming.
He said a total of 700,000 cassava stems were bought from cassava out-growers in Mansa and surrounding areas which have been distributed to the farmers in Kalumbila.
Mr Brent said Kalumbila Mine was importing starch from Australia but management decided that the local farmers in the area can grow cassava which would be used to produce starch and reduce on the importation of starch.
“Kalumbila Mine has been importing starch from Australia for use at the mine but management decided that the local farmers can be empowered to grow cassava which can be used to produce starch and reduce on the cost of importing the product. This will work well because it will also empower the local people,” Mr Brent said.
He said the local people were excited at the new project of growing cassava and the numbers were encouraging.
The farmers that have so farmers taken up the challenge of growing cassava have been drawn from Shineng’ene (119), Jiundu (50), Musele-Kisasa (180), Musanda (30), Chitungu (95), Ntambu (179), Kankonzhi (123) and Kalumbila North (85).
During a media tour of the fields, the farmers said they were happy that Kalumbila Minerals Limited came up with the initiative of empowering them through cassava growing to supply to the mine.
Diden Noah said the local people were elated at the prospect of supplying the mines and cassava growing was an easy activity because they were already involved in it.
He said all the local people in the area have embraced the programme as it would help them in doing business with the mines, improve food security and enhance sustainability.
“We are all happy and all the people that have been enrolled in this programme are extremely happy because they will be able to look after themselves and continue doing business with the mines. We are happy with Kalumbila mine for this initiative,” Mr Noah said. – Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.