Mubukwanu ‘markets’ North-West

By Staff Reporter

NORTH-WESTERN Province minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu has ‘marketed’ the province to diplomats ahead of an investment expo scheduled for August 18 to 24 this year.

Speaking when he engaged the diplomatic community at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Lusaka yesterday, Mubukwanu, flanked by North-Western Province permanent secretary Willies Manjimela, said the province was not only about mining but that it had enormous potential in the agricultural sector.

He told the diplomats accredited to Zambia that North-Western Province had a total area of 125, 826 square kilometres, which translated into 12, 582, 600 hectares and that 5.8 million hectares was suitable for agricultural production.

“However, only 154, 324 hectares is under cultivation. The total irrigable land is 200, 000 hectares, of which only 1, 825 hectares is currently under irrigation. As a province, we are the number one producer of pineapples in the country, with high quality organic honey from our natural forests. We also produce maize, cassava, groundnuts, sweet potatoes and the famous Solwezi beans,” Mubukwanu noted.

“The province falls within the high rainfall belt, with an average rainfall ranging from 1, 000 mili-metres to 1, 500 mili-metres per annum. Even now when other parts of the country are experiencing drought, our province is receiving good rains.”

He added that North-Western Province was one of the geographically largest provinces in the country with a coverage area of 125, 826 square kilometers, representing 16.8 per cent of Zambia’s area coverage.

The minister said the province had a total population of about 879, 229, according to the Central Statistical Office Census of Population and Housing projection for 2018.

“It has 11 districts of Chavuma, Zambezi, Kabompo, Manyinga, Mufumbwe, Kasempa, Kalumbila, Solwezi, Mushindamo, Ikeleng’i and Mwinilunga. Each one of the 11 districts presents unique investment opportunities and potentials,” Mubukwanu said.

“The province has great potential in irrigation and farm bloc development. On average, minimum and maximum temperatures range between 16 degrees Celsius and 24 degrees Celsius. The North-Western Province has abundant water resources from rivers, dams and wet lands, making it ideal for aquaculture investment. The province boasts of 46 perennial rivers, making aqua culture development feasible.”

Mubukwanu explained further that if the land-based potential was fully exploited, North-Western Province was able to produce up to 60, 000 metric tonnes of fish per year.

He disclosed that Kasempa, Solwezi, Kalumbila, Mwinilunga and Zambezi districts had the highest potential for aquaculture development in the province.

“The North-Western Province is naturally endowed with vast land that can be exploited for ranching and livestock farming,” Mubukwanu said.

According to Mubukwanu, the expo, that would gobble, K9.817, is dubbed Expo North-West Zambia 2019 with the tag line of unveiling the hidden treasures.

Luapula, Central and Northern Provinces have already held their expos so far.