NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT will this year start the development of Kalungwishi Farm Block in Northern Province with the first phase expected to cost US$390 million, and
create 35,000 jobs. China Railways Seventh Group Zambia Limited, the company engaged by Government to conduct a feasibility study in March this year, has concluded the works and handed a report to Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya as well as her Finance and Northern Province counterparts Felix Mutati and Brian Mundubile, respectively. Speaking during the presentation of the report yesterday, Ms Siliya said the 200,000-hectare farm block will be used as a model to develop other agriculture clusters across the country. She said the blocks should be an opportunity for Zambians to grow in agriculture so that there is enough produce for export all year round. “Kalungwishi farm block will be one of the biggest in the country, and we want to use it to increase agriculture production,” she said. She said agriculture is not just about land, water and money, but requires a lot of enablers so that excess agricultural produce is used for livestock support and bio-fuels. And Mr Mutati said the development of Kalungwishi farm block will be part of budget preparations for 2018 to ensure dreams are turned into reality. China Railways Seventh Group Zambia Limited managing director Li Songquan said the farm block will be developed over a period of six years. Mr Li said this will be done in two phases with the first one expected to start by the end of this year. “The actual construction works would commence by April next year with targeted phase one completion by 2020,” he said. The main project includes the construction of large dams, a 350km road network, landing strip, school, clinics and agriculture extension services.