The UPND government has emphasized the need for closer collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development to address the issue of illegal mining in the Luena Farm Block.
This 100,000-hectare area was designated as a farm block with significant investments made by the government. However, illegal mining activities have posed a major challenge to its development.
In a meeting with the Kawambwa District Joint Operations Committee (DJOC), Luapula Provincial Permanent Secretary Mighty Mumba reiterated the government’s commitment to the success of the Luena Farm Block development project.
Permanent Secretary Mighty Mumba expressed concern about the environmental consequences of illegal mining within the Luena Farm Block. It was revealed that some illegal miners had obtained prospecting licenses within the farm block, leading to actual mining activities that caused land degradation.
This raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of the land and its impact on future generations. The negative effects of these mining activities on the climate and weather patterns were also highlighted, indicating the need for urgent action.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Permanent Secretary Mighty Mumba emphasized the importance of collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development.
He called for greater coordination among the provincial administration, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the licensing authorities to effectively tackle illegal mining activities. Discussions were initiated with relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate measures are implemented.
During the meeting, Kawambwa District Commissioner Godfrey Chilambwe echoed the concerns about the environmental impact of illegal mining in the Luena Farm Block. He emphasized the significant role that agriculture plays in managing the climate and weather patterns, compared to mining activities. The degradation caused by mining activities not only renders the land unusable for future generations but also has irreversible consequences on the climate. This, in turn, poses a threat to Kawambwa’s potential to become a leading agricultural district, impacting its ability to contribute to the province’s and the nation’s food production.
Steven Musonda, the Kawambwa District Agricultural Coordinator, reiterated the Ministry of Agriculture’s deep concern about the ongoing illegal mining activities in the farm block. Open pit mining, in particular, damages the top layer of fertile land crucial for agricultural purposes. Mr. Musonda emphasized that if unchecked, these activities would undermine the entire objective of the Luena Farm Block. The Ministry of Agriculture is actively collaborating with relevant stakeholders to curb illegal mining and protect the agricultural potential of the area.
Mr. Musonda further highlighted the pivotal role of agriculture in driving economic development. He emphasized that no country has achieved development without a strong agricultural sector, as advancements in technology often stem from agricultural activities.
The government recognizes the need to support the agricultural sector, increase production and productivity, and foster value addition through food processing, recognizing its importance to the overall economy.
Source: Lusaka Times
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