DEFENCE Minister Ambrose Lufuma says the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has not gone into marijuana production yet, but might consider it.

The Minister was responding to a question from Roan Independent member of parliament Joel Chibuye on whether ZNS was engaging in marijuana production in Parliament on Thursday.

Lufuma said the defence force might consider it since the matter was raised.

“The 10,000 hectares that we want to acquire [in] each and every province will not only be dedicated to Maize. Maize is a principal crop. In the first instance we want to flood the market with maize. So much so that your mealie meal will be at very low cost and by doing so, we are providing food on the table for the majority of the population. Food security is very critical. We also want to go into other crops other than maize. We have wheat, soya beans, and tobacco. Apart from that, we are into livestock production, cattle beef, dairy, goats. We have birds such as layers and broilers. We would like to go into fish farming big time. So these are some of the areas that we are into,” Lufuma said.

“Farming should be throughout the year and we would like to set an example so that the small holder farmers pick it up from there. We want to be a model and the farms around us should emulate what the Zambia National Service is doing. So we are into irrigation and right now, for the 2021/2022 season, wheat production we have put a total of 1,260 hectares and flood the market so that your bread can be lowered. Currently, we have 10 center pivots procured and are ready to be used in these various farms that we have acquired. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint you honorable Member of Parliament that we have not gone into chamba production [marijuana production] as yet but we might consider since you have raised it up.”

Lufuma said ZNS targets to acquire 100,000 hectares for crop production and an additional 40,000 hectares for livestock rearing.

“The Zambia National Service has embarked on a robust expansion programme to increase production of wheat, soya beans and maize by acquiring new land in high rainfall areas. So far, 10,000 hectares in Northern Province, 10,000 hectares in Luapula Province, 10,000 hectares in North Western Province and 7,450 hectares in Muchinga Province have already been acquired. So we have acquired land to that magnitude. The target is to acquire 100,000 hectares for crop production and an additional 40,000 hectares for livestock rearing,” said Lufuma.

“As a catalyst to agriculture production and productivity, Zambia National Service will enhance the improvement of feeder roads countrywide through the rural roads connectivity programme. Further, the Zambia National Service will embark upon value addition through the operationalisation of milling plants which will produce mealie meal and maize bran for the local and export markets.”