Chipata rancher urges govt to give grants to tourism sector players

CHIPATA farmer and businessman Patrick Teleka Chirwa says government should consider giving grants to players in the tourism sector.

In an interview when he opened his Kauzu Game Ranch, an investment of over K1 million, Chirwa said investing in a game ranch was a rare phenomenon in the City of Chipata.

“I have created employment for Zambians. I will be paying tax to government and thirdly I have brought a tourism attraction to my city of Chipata. A lot of people will see animals that they used to only see on TV or in books but now they would see those animals at their doorsteps. This game ranch is only nine kilometres from Chipata town,” he said.

Chirwa said over six schools have already booked for education tours.

“The whole idea of coming up with this project is to make a difference in Chipata. You know such projects are mostly done by whites and foreigners but I am an indigenous Zambian. I am among the first ones to come up with this,” he said.

Chirwa, who once served as Chipata mayor, said such projects were in line with President Hakainde Hichilema’s call for people to venture into tourism.

“The President emphasised so much on tourism. In this same vein, why can’t a person like me not be identified? All what I want is government support, maybe through grants which can be like a revolving fund,” he said.

Chirwa said countries like Kenya had strong economies because of investing in the tourism sector.

“As a country, we depend on copper but one day the minerals will finish. So as a country, we need to diversify. Agriculture is very good but climate change is a threat so it is important to invest in so many sectors. We need to supplement what we have already been doing as a country,” he said.

Chirwa said he bought the animals from private game ranchers.

He appealed to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to also consider other provinces when they are selling animals to game ranchers.

Chirwa said his rates would be minimal for the local community to afford.

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