PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says those who laughed and mocked government for embarking on a project to construct roads in the country have been put to shame.

And President Lungu has warned millers to stop manipulating government and causing unnecessary fluctuations in prices.

Speaking when he flagged-off the 2020/2021 farming input distribution exercise Wednesday, President Lungu said it was good Zambians had realised the importance of roads.

“I have heard of the concerns you have raised on roads and all the other things. I intended to send my special assistant for projects to come and oversee that project we are doing in our chiefdom and I am sure he is ready and as he comes in, he will be ready to see what can be done about the roads. I must take advantage of this opportunity that wherever I have been in the last one and half years, the Zambians have been crying for roads everywhere and I think it’s right that they have realised that there is need for roads. Those who were laughing and mocking us have been put to shame,” President Lungu said when he met Chief Chamuka and Chief Liteta of the Lenje people of Chisamba and Chibombo districts respectively.

“Even the agriculture story we are talking about, the success story will not be complete without good roads to get to the fields to collect produce go take to the markets and urban areas where we add value. I think we are on course with your support and prayers. We will continue on this trajectory regardless of what our detractors will say. But all in all, we want to work with everybody. We don’t want to beat our own drums and sing our songs now because we want to work because time for showing off will come when the campaigns start and tell them we have done this, we have done that.”

He told the Chiefs that it was up to them to identify a member of parliament who could work with government.

“I have lamented in the past, in this area the lack of cooperation from the area member of Parliament and I think it’s an old song I don’t want to sing again. It is up to you to give us people who can work with us whether UPND, MMD, NDC, PF but the idea is to work together. We can’t all agree in this game of politics but once we have decided that this is the MP who represents the people, the MP should work with people including those who didn’t vote for them so that some of these things are addressed,” he said.

President Lungu said the late delivery of farming inputs to the district was a closed matter.

“As you all know, government designed the FISP programme in order to help small scale farmers have access to affordable agricultural inputs in a timely manner. Of course, it goes without saying that FISP has faced a number of challenges that have hindered the full attainment of its intended objectives. I am, however, very happy to inform you that the issue of late delivery of inputs to districts has been fully addressed and farmers can now receive inputs on time. Never, never again will farmers receive inputs late. It is a closed matter! To achieve more positive results in this sector, the PF government has continued to put in place stringent measures aimed at ensuring that unintended beneficiaries are removed from the FISP programme. This is being realised through strict monitoring and a robust data management system devised by smart Zambia institute,” he said.

And President Lungu said government would not work with millers who deliberately manipulated the government so that they could have access to maize from the national strategic reserve.

“I wish to recognise millers and grain traders, who are supporting the government’s efforts by buying maize from our small scale farmers. Let me say that I am also aware of some millers who are not buying maize and are just waiting for an opportune time to pounce on the food reserve agency strategic reserves. Let me take this opportunity to encourage all those millers and grain traders who have invested their own resources to buy maize and other products from our small scale farmers to continue doing so and also warn those who want to pounce and prey on our reserves. It is important for us to do so because in the event that government is required to intervene on the market to address monopolistic price trends or maize shortages, we will only work with millers and grain traders with their own maize. We are going to fight and avoid market distortions which normally disadvantage serious farmers, millers and grain traders,” said President Lungu.

“I must make it crystal clear that my government will not work with millers who deliberately manipulate government so that they can have access to maize from the national strategic reserve. Hear me clearly, it is a promise if you like it, and it is a warning if you do not like it. Government’s efforts aimed at ensuring national food security would be meaningless if we did not control illegal trade or smuggling. I, therefore, wish to call upon the defence and security wings to work flat out to curb smuggling. Zambia is a country in which the rule of law prevails and so no one will hide behind the office to commit offences.”