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Lingiwe Sibanda: Helping Farmers Integrate Agriculture and Nutrition 

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“WHAT’S gets me up in the morning is having that picture of a five-year-old child who has been malnourished at some point, but because of my teaching, or whatever it is that we have shared with them, is getting better and stronger day by day and that pushes me to keep going and doing my job,”  says First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi Foundation community nutrition assistant, Lingiwe Sibanda, a woman on a mission to help local farmers integrate nutrition for sustained improvements in food consumption and improved nutrition at the household level.

“The highlight of my time here so far has been seeing the smiles on the faces of the women we meet in the communities when we go to tell them about the importance of good nutrition. And it is the fulfilment that I get when I know that someone’s life has changed in one way or the other after talking to them.”

She said that the mining firm believes that improving nutrition should be at the centre of all agricultural programmes and policies while promoting current and well-designed nutrition education in the agriculture sector.

“We are teaching farmers some of the health benefits of consuming the food they grow. And in 2019, the Foundation surveyed to establish community needs that showed stunting levels among children below the age of five were high.

“The survey gave us a direction to take considering what to address where these communities are concerned. Our major aim is dealing with stunting, which is as a result of improper feeding of children,” Sibanda continued.

She finds that one of the major challenges that come with the job is the attitude of some community members, who find it hard to believe that beans have as much protein as meat.

“But I think change is a process, and we have to be persistent; we have to continue doing it until someone, somewhere understands the importance of growing healthy foods. But I think we are getting there, one day at a time.”

“Whatever they are growing at the moment is healthy, and we are encouraging them to consume what they are growing. And we are encouraging them to grow vegetables as well. We want to see a situation where each house at least has a kitchen garden, and this kitchen garden should include green leafy vegetables, diverse types of crops especially the vitamin-A rich crops like the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, the orange. And we are encouraging them to consume more of the food they grow,” she narrated.

It was her passion for nutrition that and the desire to see healthy children, that led her to apply for the position of community nutrition assistant when the mining firm advertised the position.

“In 2018, in September I joined FQM’s Kansanshi Foundation under the Nutrition Programme as a community nutrition assistant. And it was my love for children that has led me here today. Seeing a child who is not well or malnourished breaks my heart. And when I was told that I can work in this department as somebody who goes round in the communities teaching mothers how they can feed their children better, I was excited, I looked forward and without hesitation, I took the job.”

At only 26 years of age, Ms Sibanda has become a household name in communities surrounding FQM’s Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi District of North-Western Province.

“I was born in 1994 in Sinazongwe in Southern Province, and my parents are both teachers. I did my primary education at Batoka Basic School in Southern Province, before later going to do my secondary education at Matauka High School in Senganga District of Western Province.”

After completing high school, she did a diploma in social work at NIPA from 2011 to 2013. She then joined Habitat for Humanity, which looks at poverty eradication and housing where she worked as a data entry clerk for three years.

”In her free time, she studies; she is a second-year student at Cavendish University studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

“If I were to describe myself in three words I would say I am enthusiastic, goal-oriented and hardworking. And in the next five to ten years, I see myself as a successful farmer, growing healthy food, feeding my fellow community members. As long as our communities are well-fed, as long as our communities are given healthy food, I am ok with that.” she concluded.

One reason she has created a good relationship with the community members is good work ethics, she added.

“Part of my ethics is going that extra mile to ensure my work in the communities is done and I have gotten through to the people in ensuring they live healthier lives. And working with multinationals has also helped me a lot. I get a lot of mentorship from my supervisor, which has opened my mind to a lot of ideas and how to do things.”

Source:  LANGMEAD & BAKER

 

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Agriculture

K 5.7 billion allocated for FISP to benefit 1 million small-scale farmers

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MINISTER of Finance Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu has disclosed that government has allocated a whopping K5.7billion for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to support over one million small-scale farmers in the 2020-2021 farming season.

Presenting the national budget in the National Assembly, Dr. Ngandu said government had also allocated K517.5million for the national food strategic reserve.

“Mr. Speaker, the Economic Affairs function has been allocated a total of K21.5 billion,” he said.

“Notable expenditures include K5.7 billion on the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), targeting one million farmers across the country”, he said.

“Further, for the country to be food secure, I have set aside K517.5million for the national strategic food reserve”, he said

Dr. Ngandu also announced support to the livestock sector by promoting a programme to restock and control cattle diseases.

“Sir, to promote the livestock sub-sector, Government will continue with the Livestock Stocking and Restocking Programme out of which at least 30 percent of the beneficiaries are youths”, he said

“In the first half of 2020, a total of 3,100 households benefitted from the Programme. With regard to animal
health, a total of 283,000 animals
have been vaccinated out of the 2020 target of 290,000 under the Livestock Vaccination Programme”, he said.

He also announced a loan programme in the agriculture sector to primarily benefit young people.

“Mr Speaker, Government is
implementing the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development
Project aimed at stimulating a viable aquaculture sub-sector”, he said

“In 2020, the Project, through the Citizens Economic Empowerment
Commission(CEEC), has disbursed loans worth K6.3 million to 637 aquaculture entrepreneurs”, He said

“These loans are targeted at empowering youths and women “. he said

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Foxdale Forest – Phase 2 Selling

ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

01 Dec 2020, 12:46 PM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

17,665 Total Cases
357 Deaths
17,059 Recovered

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