By CHATULA KANGALI -
VARIOUS foreign investors have expressed interest in investing in rubber processing ventures in Zambia.
Investors from Egypt, China, India, South Africa, Israel and South American want to invest in tyre manufacturing and retreading in the country.
Zambia currently has a rubber plantation in Nchelenge District in Luapula Province with more than 140 hectares of matured plants which are ready for tapping and begging investment.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said in an interview that the investors were considering setting up tyre manufacturing and retreading plants in the country due to the availability of the raw material.
Ms Mwanakatwe said the ministry had so far met with some of the companies that wanted to invest in rubber processing.
She said investors were currently being scrutinised to ascertain the extent of their plans for the investments.
“We have a lot of interest, various firms want to come and invest in rubber processing, an industry that has been dormant for a long times.
“There are some locals firms that are also willing to partners with foreign firms,” she said.
Ms Mwanakatwe said some investors were soon expected to be in the country to check on the rubber plantation and the possible area of investment.
She said her ministry and the forestry department would work together in ensuring that there was continuous plantation of rubber trees in the country.
Ms Mwanakatwe said the rubber industry was one of the areas that had potential to create a lot of jobs for the local people and contribute to economic development.
Recently, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata toured the rubber plantation in Nchelenge and was impressed with the expansion works being carried out by the forest department.