President Edgar Lungu says the PF government has made it easier for Zambians to have more money in their pockets and succeed economically because the environment is conducive.

Speaking during a field tour at his farm in Chongwe’s Kanakantapa area, Tuesday, President Lungu argued that the PF government had made it easier for Zambians to have more money in their pockets because the environment was now conducive.

He explained that the PF’s famous more money in your pockets 2011 election campaign slogan did not imply that a PF administration would put money in people’s pockets, but that government would make the environment more conducive to enable Zambians make money for themselves.

“And when we told you that PF will bring more money in your pockets, we said you have to work hard for the money; you have to work hard for the money. But some detractors were saying: ‘no ndalama ilikuti?’ We didn’t say we will put money in your pockets. We said we will make the environment conducive for you to successfully produce and access lending facilities and support programmes from the government and we are doing it. But those confused will say: ‘no, you promised more money in the pockets.’ We said we will give you money in the pockets, yes, but if like Jesus was telling his people, he spoke in parables and those of us who knew Mr Sata, we understand what he meant. It is now easier for you to succeed than it has ever been. The women, especially, we encourage you, [and] the youths. So, I didn’t come here to campaign because it’s not my constituency. The owners of the constituency are getting worried to say: ‘abwela kuchita chani President?’ (What has the President come to do?)’ I came to support you. Let us continue cooperating and loving and talking to each other lovingly because not all of us are right all the time. Sometimes, we go wrong; we go astray, but talk to us friendly, instead of killing us,” President Lungu said.

“Power should be worked for. My purpose of coming was just to share with you that I am still with you. We are all friends, but we keep saying that back to the roots because [that is] where you grow everything. I came here to just demonstrate that I am serious about farming because you know that without food, there is no future. And that’s why we are partnering with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and Panna Seed, and all those who are involved in agriculture, so that together we can [have] more impetus and more life into the agricultural sector because when you sit in Lusaka at State House [and] you are talking about farming, people don’t think you are serious, but when they see you that you have got connection with the land and can also grow, they will also try and emulate you.”

The President said there was need for farmers to mechanize crop production to increase hectarage.

“I am very happy to find that all of you are still looking healthy, it means mukudya bwino (you eating well). Mukudya bwino it means musebenza bwino. So, mine, I assure you [and do] I want to meet the district farmers union here and see how we can work together because farming ya kambwili sisebenza (farming of using a hoe no longer works). We have to use either oxen or machines like tractors and not everyone can afford a tractor. So, I want to work with them and see how we can partner in cutting the cost of tilling the land using a tractor, and that calls for a small token to pay the driver and save the charge. With one tractor, you can do a lot of hectarage and I believe that if we work together in Chongwe, we will demonstrate that we are united and cut the cost of production. The other thing is the planting of quality, good application to fertilizer as you have already heard and demonstrated by the people who know better. Let’s use the extension services available in Chongwe for us to be able to produce maximum [hectarage]. I am told that you are producing two [tonnes], one [and] sometimes half or 1.7 tonnes per hectare when in actual fact, others are producing eight [tonnes] and the optimum is up to 18, I am told. So, we can get to eight, we can get to nine or even to 10 and that will be richer,” President Lungu said.

And speaking at the same event when he briefed the Head of State on the types of seeds, Panna managing director Samson Nyendwa explained that there continued need to encourage farmers to diversify crop production.

“Your Excellency, we want to demonstrate the need for diversification so that our farmers can be well diversified, thereby, reducing risk. I must mention that the ‘Shanga’ in one 53 has a potential of 14 metric tonnes. We would want farmers to learn that, indeed, we can get better yields by planting improved seed and taking care of it. The farmers can even get 10 to 15 [metric tonnes per] hectare as opposed to the 1.7 or 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare that they are getting currently. And your Excellency, you will agree with me that, if our small-scale farmers were to get above 10 tonnes per hectare, that will alleviate poverty and inevitably it would improve the economic outlook of our people. And once we plant, we will take care against the fall army worms,” said Nyendwa.

President Lungu, who was accompanied by Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe and his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, among other government officials, was received by Chongwe member of parliament Japhen Mwakalombe, who also serves as Copperbelt Province Minister.