SIMON MUNTEMBA writes
GOVERNMENT says it will continue distributing relief food to all hunger-stricken districts across the country until next the farming season to ensure no one dies of hunger.
And Minister in the Office of the Vice President Sylvia Chalikosa has urged farmers to grow a variety of crops to ensure food security even when there are effects of climate change.
Ms Chalikosa flagged off the distribution of relief food in Kasoma Lunga Chiefdom, Lunga district last weekend.
The consignment of relief food was flagged off to respond to the plight of several vulnerable and aged people affected by hunger in the area whose houses and crop fields were submerged following heavy rains.
Ms Chalikosa was accompanied by Luapula Member of Parliament Emerine Kabanshi, under whose constituency Lunga district falls, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) national coordinator Chanda Kabwe and other government officials.
Officiating the flag-off, Ms Chalikosa distributed 8,860 bags of mealie-meal weighing 12.5kg each to four chiefdoms in Kasoma Lunga (2,746 bags), Kalima Nkonde (1,574 bags), Nsamba (2,303 bags) and Bwalya Mponda (2,237).
Ms Chalikosa said Government was working round the clock with cooperating partners to ensure a lasting solution was found to the crisis.
“It is important to realise that the work Government does, which is to look after its citizens to ensure that people in the country receive their social amenities and empowerment to help them uplift their standard, is done by other cooperating partners, both local and international.
“I flagged off relief food distribution for Lunga district, and this will be a continuous process between now and the next farming season because the people do not have any food at all,” Ms Chalikosa said.
“We are also going to be in discussion to see how we can do more sustainable programmes, including the clearing of water channels so that we avoid flooding should we be faced with excess rains in the next farming seasons.”
Ms Chalikosa thanked the Catholic Church and other stakeholders for partnering with Government to help the most affected households.
She also called for diversification in agriculture.
Ms Chalikosa said only when farmers grew a variety of crops would they ensure food security in times of climate change.
And speaking when Ms Chalikosa and her entourage paid a courtesy call on him at his palace, Chief Kasoma Lunga of the Unga people pledged unwavering support to President Edgar Lungu’s government.
Chief Kasoma Lunga commended Government for the quick intervention by attending to the plight of the people especially the aged who were affected by hunger in the area.
Meanwhile, Ms Kabanshi has commended Government and the Catholic Church for coming to the aid of her constituents.
She said relief food distribution would reduce hunger in a district which has high poverty levels.