Sunday, September 01, 2013

Chilangwa orders workers to secure Kawambwa Tea fields
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Kawambwa
Mon 05 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

KAWAMBWA Central PF member of parliament Nickson Chilangwa has instructed workers at the abandoned Kawambwa Tea Company to commence the formation of firebreaks around the tea fields to secure them from bush fires.

Chilangwa's instruction follows the destruction of over 170 hectares of eucalyptus tree plantation by bush fires at the company last week because of lack of fireguards.

Over 3,000 cubic metres of cut timber intended for tea curing were burnt in the inferno.

The tea fields have been overgrown by grass because no weeding has taken place since 2011 when workers went on strike demanding to be paid salaries by Gombe Holdings, a company whose owner from Zimbabwe later ababdoned the plant.

But Chilangwa, who could not disclose where the money to pay the workers who would put up firebreaks would come from, said the government was displeased to learn that the tree plantation had been gutted by bush fires.

He said although the company was in private hands, the government would not watch the fields being destroyed by bush fires because the tea company belonged to the Zambian people.

He said the workers would create fire guards around the over 450 hectares of tea fields and were expected to complete the works within this month.

"We don't need to wait for the investor who is in Zimbabwe to come and put the fire guards when bush fires have already started destroying plantations. I will not tell you where we shall get the money to pay the workers from but we have agreed and the work will be done. These tea fields belong to Zambia and when they are destroyed, it is Zambia that will lose," said Chilangwa.

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