ZAMBIA - Zambeef Products intends to set up an out-grower scheme in Mpika to feed into its 20,000-hectare Zampalm plantation and enable local farmers to participate in palm oil production business.
Zambeef chairman Jacob Mwanza said the initiative will encourage farmers to plant alternative crops apart from the traditional cassava and maize grown in the area.
Under the scheme, Zampalm, a division of Zambeef Products, will be providing farmers with seedlings, training, and inputs required to manage their farms.
In a statement availed to Daily Mail on Monday, Dr Mwanza said enhanced palm oil production will help substitute 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil currently being imported, and enable the country to save in foreign exchange outflows every year.
“We would like to get the community involved in the project as a way of generating employment and sustainable economic growth in the area.
The palm plant is the most efficient oil-producing plant that you can harvest over 25 years as long as the tree continues to produce. And with that, [you] can be assured of an income source and the community can be self-sustaining,” he said.
Dr Mwanza said the company will be buying the palm oil fruit from the farms to be processed into crude oil at its crushing plant in the long term, providing a ready market for the harvest.
Earlier, Zambeef Products joint-chief executive officer Carl Irwin said some areas have already started getting plantlets with Kapumfi School in Mpika receiving 100 seedlings in the initial phase of the project.
The Zampalm project was launched in 2009 and currently has some 370,900 palms planted over an area of 2,612 hectares in the main plantation, with another 39,000 seedlings in the main and pre-nursery.
“The demand for edible oils in Zambia is huge and will continue to grow as the country develops. Mpika should be the palm oil heart of Zambia as the sandy soil here is ideal for the plant.
“We would like to see the community benefit and make palm oil production a characteristic of the area just as Mwinilunga is for pineapples, and Mazabuka for sugar,” said Dr Irwin.
September 9, 2015; https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=43095