SOCIALIST Party 2021 presidential candidate Dr Fred M’membe says Southern Province has very hard working people with a culture of agriculture.
In a recent radio programme, Dr M’membe wondered how a country with so many water bodies and hardworking people would fail to feed its people.
He said, with just a little effort to make water available, the Southern Province would be agriculture viable.
“We have hard working people in Southern Province. Very hard working people with a culture of agriculture acquired over many centuries but why should we fail to feed ourselves? Even when there is drought, there is no rain, Southern Province could still be able to produce enough food if we just cared a little bit to make water available to Southern Province,” Dr M’membe said.
He noted that Southern Province has plenty of water as it is home to two very big rivers, the Kafue and Zambezi that do not dry up, hence should be used to irrigate for agriculture purposes.
Dr M’membe said he does not agree with advocates who want to move agriculture from the southern part of the country to the northern region saying the solution lies in taping water from the Kafue river and provision of canals and dams for the farmers.
“There is plenty of water. There is no time when the Kafue river is dry, there has never been a time when the Zambezi river is dry but why should Southern Province be without water to irrigate? There are some people who have been advocating that agriculture should be moved from the southern part of the country to the northern part of the country. I disagree,” he said. “Southern Province is still very viable as an agriculture province, all what we need is to tap water from the Kafue river, tap water from the Zambezi river and provide our people with canals, dams and irrigation.”
Dr M’membe added that with irrigation, Southern Province would be able to produce more than one crop a year.
“And with Southern Province producing more than one crop a year, Zambia will prosper, hunger will be a thing of the past. I am not saying that if we put more effort into the Southern Province then we should ignore the agriculture prospects in other parts of the country. We should but not at the expense of destroying the long history of agriculture in the Southern Province,” he said. “So these are the major issues our government must tackle and these are not easy problems, they are difficult problems. Nobody should cheat you that it will be easy to get our country out of the poverty it is in. Nobody should cheat you, it is a difficult thing but we have to do it. We have no alternative but to struggle if we have to harbour any hope of survival.”
Dr M’membe said only with tremendous effort can the country face the future which appears so difficult, desperate and sombre.
“This will be the focus of our government but whatever the challenges, whatever the difficulty, no matter how enormous the difficulties are, no matter how complex that task is, there can never be room for pessimism,” said Dr M’membe. “We do not despair, we should not give up. If we give up we are gone, we are dead, we are finished as a people. So feeding our people is priority number one of the Socialist government and that means paying a lot of attention to agriculture, especially peasant agriculture.”