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Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Zam­palm is ex­pected to re­duce Zam­bia’s edible oils im­port bill by USD25 - mil­lion, thereby sav­ing the coun­try the much needed for­eign ex­change. This is ac­cord­ing to the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion – IDC Pub­lic Re­la­tions Man­ager Na­makau Muke­labai.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the Zam­bian Busi­ness Times – ZBT, Muke­labai stated that “The Zam­palm Plan­ta­tion plans to expand to 20,000 hectares with the po­ten­tial pro­duc­tion of 5 met­ric tons per hectare of Crude Palm Oil.

She stated that the growth of palm oil in the coun­try is fa­cil­i­tat­ing im­port sub­sti­tu­tion, not­ing that un­til now, Zam­bia im­ports most of its edible oils at sig­nif­i­cant cost to the coun­try.

Being a long-term in­vest­ment, the full po­ten­tial is ex­pected to be reached in a pe­riod of about 10 years. With full po­ten­tial, rev­enues from palm oil ex­pected to be in ex­cess of USD25 mil­lion per an­num,” she said.

How­ever, Mrs. Muke­labai says the cur­rent palm oil pro­duc­tion is mainly for lo­cal mar­ket while global In­dus­tries in Ndola buy all the palm oil from Zam­palm.

The palm oil pro­duc­tion which started in 2016 has over the last two years recorded a mas­sive ad­vance­ment with the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of ap­prox­i­mately 300 tons of fruits from the nu­cleus plan­ta­tion equiv­a­lent to about 60 tons of palm oil pro­duced.

The IDC Pub­lic Re­la­tions Man­ager Na­makau Muke­labai told the Zam­bia Busi­ness times that a ton of palm oil is cur­rently val­ued at about USD800 per ton.

“The palm oil pro­ject in Zam­bia started in 2008 with the es­tab­lish­ment of an oil palm nurs­ery. The ear­li­est planted palm trees were in 2011 while the pro­duc­tion of palm oil started in 2016 as palm trees take at least 4 years to start bear­ing fruit, cur­rently there is a 2 tons per hour oil mill at Zam­palm Es­tate” she said.

Muke­labai fur­ther ex­plained that the key in­puts and raw ma­te­rial for the pro­duc­tion of oil are oil palm seedlings, fer­til­iz­ers and agri­cul­ture ma­chin­ery/equip­ment. These are items that are the ma­jor in­puts to have the fi­nal prod­ucts.

She adds that Zam­palm has so far em­ployed 700 em­ploy­ees and that the out grower scheme is tar­get­ing to reach at least 5,000 house­holds at peak pro­duc­tion lev­els. The out grow­ers pro­gram is an­tic­i­pated to gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment for mainly the youth and women in Muchinga Prov­ince pri­mar­ily.

The in­dus­trial base that is as­so­ci­ated with grow­ing palm trees in Muchinga prov­ince will also re­sult in rural feeder roads and other eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture that is ex­pected to be brought about by the out grower’s com­po­nent. This will be ben­e­fi­cial to the lo­cal out grower farm­ers and the en­tire com­mu­nity catch­ment in the two prov­inces in­clud­ing Lua­pula.

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