Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has asked the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development to facilitate a stakeholders meeting to resolve encroachment wrangles over Dwambadzi Livestock Centre in Nkhotakota.
The centre, which also partly lies in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts, covers 6 187 hectares, but only 20 percent is in use.
Lowe made the call on Saturday when he inspected the farm to find ways of increasing manure, milk and meat production which he said have dwindled over the years.
During the tour, group village head Katumbi from Traditional Authority Kaphuzira in Nkhotakota asked government to share part of the idle land to stop the encroachment.
“This piece of land was given to government in 1971 when the population in the district was small, but now some people have no land to settle on and cultivate,” he said.
In a separate interview, Dwambadzi Livestock Centre manager Bonface Malata blamed the encroachment on lack of a feasible map and lease agreement and weak security.
However, Land Resource Conservation Management director Gertrude Kambauwa said lack of resources to conduct a feasibility survey to establish the extent of the population was fuelling encroachment.
In response, Lowe said: “Having successfully introduced the Affordable Inputs Programme, government wants to revamp livestock production.
“I, therefore, urge stakeholders involved to meet on Friday [April 16 2021] to resolve the disputes amicably to create a conducive environment for government’s plans while fostering good relationship with community members.”