ZAMPALM TO SAVE ZAMBIA US$100M
By PRINCE CHIBAWAH in Mpika THE Zampalm project which is being implemented by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and ZAMBEEF is set to save Zambia US$100 million in foreign exchange outflows every year once it is fully operational.
IDC acting group chief executive officer, Henry Sakala said Zambia was currently spending between US$70 million and US$100 million per annum on edible oil imports.
Mr Sakala said this on Monday when IDC board of directors inspected the Zampalm plantation in Mpika.
IDC has invested over US$16 million in ZAMPALM Ltd that has so far created 900 permanent jobs.
"This project is of strategic importance to IDC and the nation as it drives the country's industrialisation, rural development and job creation agenda," he said.
Mr Sakala explained that one of the key features of the Zampalm project was the creation of out-grower schemes.
"The project will create employment for Zambians at both the factory and plantation level. We are also targeting to create out-grower schemes to cover between 5,000 and 10,000 small scale farmers to feed the crushing plant,
And delegation leader, David Kombe described the Zampalm project as a progressive investment.
"It's a progressive project considering that the country is trying to diversify and develop agriculture as one of many sectors. Even in agriculture we are trying to run away from promoting maize as the only thing our people should be planting.
"As IDC we will try to work closely with ZAMBEEF and see how we can expand because one of the problems we have looked at is that out of 20,000 hectares only 3,000 hectares has been utilised.
So how do we progress and ensure the remaining 17,000 hectares is also utilised? That's one of the critical things we need to seriously look at. That's the only way we will get value for money."
Meanwhile, chairman of ZAMBEEF, Dr Jacob Mwanza said the partnership between ZAMBEEF and IDC was a very important milestone in contributing to the development of Zambia.
"We need to ensure ZAMBEEF remains a Zambian company .... so I greatly welcome the partnership between ZAMBEEF and IDC because this will ensure ZAMBEEF expansion growth is driven by locally based companies.