LUANSHYA, May 25 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese-owned mining firm in Zambia, China Non-ferrous Metal Company Luanshya Copper Mine (CLM), will next year consider supporting over 200 small-scale farmers.
The move is a way of supplementing government's efforts to diversify into agricultural sector for increased food production, a spokesperson said on Saturday.
Sydney Chileya, the company's spokesperson, said CLM currently supports 100 vulnerable but viable scale farmers in Luanshya district on the Copperbelt Province.
In an interview with Xinhua, Chileya said the number of small-scale farmers to be supported is likely to increase to 200 next year from the current 100 beneficiaries.
"As a company we have a deliberate annual program to support vulnerable but viable small scale farmers in the district, we are working in collaboration with the office of the Luanshya mayor, the office of the district commissioner including that of the Member of Parliament to carry out this program," Chileya said.
According to Chileya, the support follows a plea from a lawmaker in the area to have the number of beneficiaries of farm inputs from the mining firm increased from 100 to 200.
"As along as government is in the forefront of this program we are ready to offer our support aimed at increasing food production in the district and the country as a whole," he said.
Meanwhile, one the beneficiaries of farm inputs from CLM Clement Nkweto said he was excited that the firm was helping vulnerable small-scale farmers with farming inputs despite the company's main business being in mining.
"We hope other companies in the district will emulate China Non-ferrous Luanshya Copper Mine," he said.
Nkweto said it was cardinal to support small-scale farmers in the district with farming inputs such as fertilizer to promote household food security in the district and the country as a whole.
Another Luanshya-based peasant farmer Brendah Phiri said she has greatly benefited from agricultural program by the Chinese mining firm.
"I have benefited seed and fertilizer from Chinese company for my small holding farm," Phiri said.