The government has received a grant from Japan for the redevelopment of the Luangwa bridge. Luangwa bridge is a key piece of infrastructure required to support increased trade traffic capacity on the Nakara corridor, connecting to Beira port in Mozambique.
Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji disclosed this in Chipata last evening when he paid a courtesy call of paramount chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people in the Eastern Province.
Mr. Malanji, who was companied by Eastern Province Minister, Makebi Zulu and ruling Patriotic Front vice chairperson for mobilisation Geoffrey Mwamba, said the Luangwa bridge, which was built in the 1950s, is old and needs to be upgraded but did not disclose how much the grant is.
He said government wants to fully exploit the agriculture potential in the Eastern province.
The Foreign Affairs Minister further said the government’s focus is to give impetus to the cotton farmers so that they can export the commodity to Turkey in Europe.
“We want to have one big farmer who will engage others in out grower scheme for cotton. Turkey is a big market for textile and we want to export our cotton,” Mr. Malanji said.
He said groundnut farmers will also be supported as modalities are in place to start exporting peanut butter to Saudi Arabia.
And paramount chief Mpezeni welcomed the decision government has taken to help cotton farmers and boost agriculture in general.
The traditional leader also praised government for paying attention to the development of road infrastructure.
He said working on the roads in Mambwe and Chipangali will ease the movement of cotton and groundnut produce to the market.
“It is good that you work on the Great East Road from Luangwa to Lusaka. You must also look at roads in Chipangali and Mambwe so that farmers can easily move their cotton to the central market,” he said.
He however lamented that currently, some cotton buyers exploit farmers hence the idea to bring in an organised buyer for export is welcome.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is in the Eastern Province to look at areas of economic potential that could be facilitated for international investment partnerships and trade.
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